Seven New Must-See Public Art Displays In Philadelphia

Temporary and permanent installations in new and old spaces bolster the city's arts reputation...

Philly’s reputation for public art is well-deserved.

With nearly 4,000 murals, thousands of statues and sculptures, and a more-than-century’s-long effort to commission and preserve public works, Philadelphia clearly deserves its reputation as a top destination to see and experience art.

And in a city as diverse as Philadelphia, the public art is just as inclusive. Look no further than some of the newest art additions to the city, which celebrate different cultures, enliven long-neglected spaces and honor victims and survivors of atrocities.

Check out seven new places to see public art in Philadelphia.

Gardens at the Kimmel Center

The 17-foot-tall traveling kaleidoscopic sculpture Gardens that's currently on display in the Kimmel Center's Commonwealth Plaza lobby commemorates the 100th anniversary of the restitution of Lithuanian statehood. Philadelphia marks an extra special stop on the LED installation's trip, as the first Lithuanians to arrive in the United States came through Pennsylvania. Gardens celebrates Lithuania and highlights the value of creative freedom. 

Gardens at the Kimmel Center

When:Through Friday, November 9, 2018
Where:Kimmel Center, 300 S. Broad Street
Cost:Free

www.kimmelcenter.org

Sea Monsters HERE at The Navy Yard

Public art installation Sea Monsters HERE at the Navy YardPhoto courtesy Group X

A collaboration between The Navy Yard and Group X, an anonymous collective of Philly art-thought leaders, yielded Sea Monsters HERE (#NavyYardSeaMonster). United Kingdom-based inflatable sculpture artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas created the fluorescent purple inflatable tentacles that burst through the windows of an old warehouse on the sprawling Navy Yard campus. The installation can be seen up close at the intersection of 13th Street and Flagship Avenue, or from above when flying in or out of Philadelphia International Airport.

Sea Monsters HERE at The Navy Yard

When:Through Friday, November 16
Where:The Navy Yard, Building 611, Flagship Avenue and 13th Street
Cost:Free

www.navyyard.org

#Trashcan Takeover

#TrashcanTakeover art in PhillyPhoto by Eric Dale for Rory

Philadelphia artists worked together to turn uninspiring trashcan ads into works of art with thoughtful images and messaging. #TrashcanTakeover aims to spark discussion about how brands can and should use public space for messaging while showcasing the works of 18 artists on 18 cans around Rittenhouse Square.

#Trashcan Takeover

When:Ongoing
Where:Various locations including 19th Street and Rittenhouse Square
Cost:Free

www.instagram.com

Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny in West Philadelphia

Philadelphia's first augmented reality mural debuted in October 2018 in West Philadelphia's Conestoga neighborhood. DJ King Britt and muralist Joshua Mays worked with students from Mural Arts Philadelphia's Art Education program to review historical archives, record audio and interpret Afro-diasporic images of transcendence to create a “monumental time portal” honoring ancestral legacies and imagining utopian futures. Using the MuralArtsAR app, visitors can hear and see community interviews as they walk alongside the art.

Dreams, Diaspora, and Destiny in West Philadelphia

When:Ongoing
Where:53rd and Media streets
Cost:Free

www.muralarts.org

Art Studios at Cherry Street Pier

Former shipping containers find new life on Cherry Street Pier as artist studiosPhoto by M. Young for Delaware River Waterfront Corporation

The Delaware River waterfront's new indoor/outdoor space takes public art to a new level. Opened in October 2018, Cherry Street Pier hosts a rotating group of artists-in-residence whose shipping-containers-turned-studios are open for visitors who want to see art in action. In addition to exhibiting and selling work on the pier, the 15 artists invite the public to watch their art — photography, wood making, poetry, and more — come to life.

Art Studios at Cherry Street Pier

When:Ongoing
Where:Cherry Street Pier, 121 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Free

www.delawareriverwaterfront.com/

Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

What began with the Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs in 1964 has grown into the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza, recently unveiled with five new elements: the Six Pillars, chronicling the Holocaust in contrast with American constitutional protections; the Tree Grove, representing the woods that sheltered Nazi resistors; the Eternal Flame inside the Remembrance Wall, as a symbol of hope; the Theresienstadt Tree, planted from a sapling of a tree that children in Theresienstadt Camp nurtured; and Train Tracks, taken from the railroad next to the Treblinka extermination camp.

Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

When:Ongoing
Where:Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza, Benjamin Franklin Parkway and North 16th Street
Cost:Free

www.philaholocaustmemorial.org

For Philadelphia and Exploded Paradigm at the Comcast Technology Center

Two installations make for a stunning display inside the lobby of the Comcast Technology Center, which officially opened to the public in fall 2018. Internationally recognized artist Jenny Holzer specializes in words, using writings by poets, architects amd children to create For Philadelphia. The nine ceiling-mounted LED displays look like artful newstickers and can be seen from multiple vantage points in the building. Beneath the ceiling panels and bookended by the escalators is Exploded Paradigm. British artist Conrad Shawcross' first permanent commission in the United States continues his work with tetrahedrons with a massive cast iron and mirror-polished stainless fabrication that prompts viewers to interpret its meaning.

For Philadelphia and Exploded Paradigm at the Comcast Technology Center

When:Ongoing
Where:Comcast Innovation and Technology Center, 1800 Arch Street
Cost:Free

www.corporate.comcast.com

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