Must-See Public Art Exhibitions In Philadelphia This Year

A towering sculpture, art in unexpected places and more...

It’s a summer (and fall! and winter!) of free public art in Philadelphia.

Through early July, Visit Philadelphia’s Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition brings works by local artists to unexpected places throughout Philadelphia’s Historic District.

This summer also welcomes the arrival of the highly anticipated Big Bling sculpture, a creation of acclaimed sculptor Martin Puryear — and his biggest yet. The towering sculpture currently lives on Kelly Drive through the fall.

Check out our picks for public art exhibitions in Philly this summer, fall and winter.

Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition

Revolutionary ArtPhoto by C. Smyth for Visit Philadelphia

A revolutionary art exhibit has spread across Philadelphia’s Historic District. Presented by VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition showcases free public artwork at 13 locations — one chosen for each of the stars featured on the original American flag. Created by an array of forward-thinking artists, Revolutionary features pieces designed as an interpretation of “revolution” and how that concept might challenge the social and political status quo.

Revolutionary: A Pop-Up Street Art Exhibition

When:Through July 4
Where:Throughout Philadelphia's Historic District
Cost:POSTDATA

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Inside Out

The Philadelphia Museum of Art brings its Inside Out exhibition to a number of areas throughout the region — East Passyunk, Manayunk, Media, Brewerytown and more. The exhibition puts large-scale replicas of influential pieces of art by artists like Georgia O'Keefe, Andy Warhol and Vincent van Gogh in unexpected places, including in front of schools, in the middle of public parks and elsewhere.

Inside Out

When:Through December 2017
Where:Citywide
Cost:Free

www.philamuseum.org

The Association for Public Art Presents Big Bling

The Association for Public Art (aPA) brings sculptural installation Big Bling to Philly this summer. A creation of acclaimed sculptor Martin Puryear, Big Bling stands as his largest temporary outdoor sculpture yet. On view through November 2017 on Kelly Drive, the multi-tier wood structure appears to be part animal, part abstract sculpture and part meditation piece.

The Association for Public Art Presents Big Bling

When:Through November 2017
Where:Kelly Drive between Fountain Green Drive and the Girard Avenue Bridge
Cost:Free

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The Oval+

The OvalImage courtesy PORT Urbanism

The Oval returns as The Oval+ (The Oval Plus) with a bigger-than-ever footprint and an all-new art installation by Philadelphia- and Chicago-based design firm PORT Urbanism. The new installation will encourage people to envision the future uses of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The installatin features three open-air "rooms" that each focus on a different subject (and illuminate at night) in addition to a new ground mural designed by PORT Urbanism and painted by Mural Arts Philadelphia.

The Oval+

When:July 20-August 20
Where:The Oval, 2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost:Free

www.theovalphl.org

Mural Arts Philadelphia Presents Monument Lab

This eight-week citywide public art and history exhibition delves into what makes a monument in the 21st century. Mural Arts Philadelphia and curators Paul M. Farber, Ken Lum and A. Will Brown co-produce this series of temporary installations by local and international artists accompanied by interactive pop-up laboratories for creative conversations.

Mural Arts Philadelphia Presents Monument Lab

When:September 16-November 19
Where:Citywide

www.monumentlab.muralarts.org

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

FirefliesRendering courtesy Cai Studio and the Association for Public Art Installations

In the fall, the Association of Public Art, working with guest curator Lance Fung of Fung Collaboratives, will light up the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, an interactive artwork consisting of 27 luminous, kinetic sculptures in the form of free pedicabs. Participants will be able to ride inside the moving sculptures, which will travel in a route between Sister Cities Park and Iroquois Park.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

When:September 4-October 18
Where:Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

www.associationforpublicart.org

Winter Fountains

Winter FountainsIMAGE COURTESY ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ART

One of the marquee exhibitions of Parkway 100 is Winter Fountains, a world premiere nighttime installation made up of five beautiful winter fountains along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Five fountains measuring 13 feet in height and 26 feet in width will fill the Parkway and bring even more life to the cultural boulevard after dark. The exhibition opens this winter.

Winter Fountains

When:December 2017-March 2018
Where:Along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

www.associationforpublicart.org

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