Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies Lights Up Philly’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway With A Free Interactive Installation

Free, colorful pedicabs illuminate the Parkway in this amazing public artwork...

Ready to explore the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the seat of a pedicab? Now’s your chance thanks to Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, a new interactive artwork open September 15 to October 8.

During the exhibition, find 27 pedal-powered vehicles traveling along the Parkway from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park holding up a combined total of 900(!) colorful lanterns.

FAST FACTS

  • Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies unfolds September 15 to October 8.
  • The interactive art installation will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m.
  • Twenty-seven illuminated pedicabs will transport guests along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
  • Free rides are available; walk-ups are welcome and online reservations can be made here.

The best part yet? Each night of the display, free rides will be available, transporting guests two-at-a-time and enabling the public to become a part of this one-of-a-kind work of art.

The installation marks the largest U.S. project of the past decade for internationally renowned artist Cai Guo-Qiang.

Overview

Created by esteemed artist Cai Guo-Qiang and commissioned by the Association for Public Art with Fung Collaboratives and led by curator Lance Fung, Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies brings an illuminating work of art to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this fall.

Viewers will find 900 bright and colorful lanterns held afloat by 27 kinetic pedicabs traveling along the Parkway at night.

Each night, visitors will have the chance to ride in one of the pedicabs, which will travel from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park. The one-way trips are entirely free, and visitors can also reserve separate trips back to Iroquois Park from Sister Cities Park.

Tickets can be obtained either via walk-up or online reservation.

Inspired by the traditional lantern festivals of the artist’s childhood, the public piece is Cai Guo-Qiang’s largest U.S. work of the past decade.

How to Ride & Ticketing Information

While the pedicab rides are free, tickets are required. One ticket gets you a one-way ride for two people from Iroquois Park (24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, across from Eakins Oval) to Sister Cities Park (18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Logan Square). Tickets can be obtained either via walk-up or online reservation.

Each ride is one-and-a-half miles and will take 15 to 20 minutes. Walk-ups at the Iroquois Park hub are welcome and online reservations can be made here. Reservations are available every 30 minutes Thursdays through Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m.

Fireflies
(Photo by J. Fusco for aPA)
More than 25 illuminated pedicabs will take visitors on free, one-way rides along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park.

If a return trip is desired, you must reserve a ride for Sister Cities Park to Iroquois Park at a later time slot here.

Rides are weather permitting, as the pedicabs cannot operate in the rain. For weather-related updates, check the Association for Public Art’s Twitter or website.

Food and Drink

On select nights, food trucks will set up shop at Iroquois Park, and The Logan Square Café will hold extended hours in Sister Cities Park. Picnicking at both Iroquois Park and Sister Cities Park is welcome, too, so consider making an evening out of the experience and plan to enjoy a meal al fresco.

Other great news: Parks On Tap heads to the newly renovated Shakespeare Park during Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, serving as the official beer garden for the pop-up event. Directly in front of the Free Library of Philadelphia‘s central branch, Shakespeare Park is just steps away from Sister Cities Park, making it super convenient to hit up before or after a pedicab ride.

As per the usual Parks On Tap experience, visitors and residents will find two food trucks serving an array of draft beer, wine, snacks and non-alcoholic beverage options. Parks On Tap at Shakespeare Park will be open September 15 to October 8, Thursdays through Sundays, from 5 to 10 p.m.

Getting There

The hub of the action is Iroquois Park at 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue across from Eakins Oval. Visitors can use the following address for GPS directions: 552 N. 24th Street.

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway can get busy, so if able, arrive on foot, by bike (try Indego!) or by public transportation via SEPTA. Those who seek to take a stroll along the Parkway can take the subway via the Broad Street Line to the City Hall station or the train to the Suburban Station, both just blocks away from the start of the Parkway. A walk to Iroquois Park at the end of the Parkway is just over one mile.

Friday through Sunday (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), visitors can also utilize the Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop, which makes stops at various cultural attractions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The cost is $2 per person per ride or $5 for an all-day pass (children 4 and under and seniors ride for free).

Ready to go and glow? Become a part of the art and get ready for an illuminating ride! We’ll see you out there.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

When:September 15-October 8, Thursdays through Sundays, 6-10 p.m.
Where:Start: Iroquois Park, 552 North 24th Street; End: Sister Cities Park, 210 N. 18th Street
Cost:Free, tickets required

www.associationforpublicart.org

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