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Art, Wine, and Miracles – A Road Trip in Israel

In America we call them “Roadside Attractions” – the enticing wonders that dot country highways.  Advertising sensational things like 20 foot long alligator mummies or the world’s biggest dollhouse, these sights are usually good for a laugh, a rest stop, and an ice cream before heading back on the road.  Mostly they are quirky, kitschy tourist stops, but occasionally you find a gem.  I’ve come to realize that these places are not limited to the US.  Here’s the story of one such incredible find in Israel, a figuratively and literally miraculous place.

Israel road to Nazareth to Cana

On the road leaving Nazareth

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Exploring Intricate Baoan Temple, Taipei

After visiting several temples in Taipei, I got a feeling for what made each unique – whether it was the size, the deities enshrined within, or the devotion of the local worshipers.  By far, the temple with the most beautiful and extensive decoration was the Baoan Temple in the northern part of the city.  From the elaborate art throughout the complex, it was evident that the community supported the preservation of this historic temple.  It is no surprise then that Baoan was awarded the 2003 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Conservation.  With attention paid to every visual detail, this was such a rewarding temple to explore.

Baoan Temple, Taipei

Baoan Temple, Taipei

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Impressions of Taipei

I recently had the chance to stopover in Taipei on my first trip to Eastern Asia.  What I found was an energetic metropolis firmly rooted in traditional culture while still embracing modernity with a global sensibility.

Taipei 101 down a city street

The modern Taipei 101 tower looms brightly over the city.

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Masterpieces for Free: An Art Day in Washington DC

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are treating you to An Art Day in some of our favorite city.  Check out all the stories below!

Pablo PIcasso's "Family of Saltimbanques" at the National Gallery of Art

Viewing “Family of Saltimbanques” in the Picasso Gallery at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

I am so lucky to live in Washington DC!  We have interesting architecture, great music and performing arts organizations, very active international Embassies, beautiful public art and monuments, and an incredible collection of museums and galleries.  Since the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Museums are administered by the US federal government, admission is always free.  While this is a dream come true for DC’s students, it is great symbolic gesture for visitors to the city – the visual arts should be enjoyed freely and shared with all.  With all the special exhibits to see, I practically get an “art day” every month and so I absolutely recommend an art trip to DC!

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Gilded Age Decorative Arts: Chicago’s Driehaus Museum

front entry Driehaus Museum

Magnificant marble front entrance to the Driehaus Museum

Nothing captures the artistic spirit of an era like a historic home.  Through a coherent assemblage of architectural elements, furniture, and decor, you can get an absolute understanding of a period’s design principles.  I recently visited the Driehaus Museum in Chicago which presents within its luxurious rooms the evolving American decorative arts of the Gilded Age.  This mansion is also a startlingly beautiful oasis in the modern business center of Chicago and definitely worth a visit!

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