You Need This Pocket-Sized Guide to Philadelphia’s Public Art
The City has published a nifty, highly portable reference guide to public art around Center City, Fairmount Park and University City. The idea behind A Guide to Philadelphia’s Public Art, which is organized geographically, is that you can pick an area in the city to explore, and then take a self-guided walking tour with the book in hand and learn something about all the existing sculptures in our environment.
A lot of public art can feel like neighbors that we only really know by sight. Produced by Creative Philadelphia — City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the book is filled with fun nuggets of information that have a nice way of strengthening the connection between reader and artwork.
For example, do you know that giant winged sculpture at 30th Street Station? Titled Angel of the Resurrection, the piece was made in 1952 by one of the original “Monuments Men” of World War II. Sculptor Walker Hancock was a professor of sculpture at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and also served in the army during the war to recover art and cultural artifacts stolen by the Nazis.
Or maybe you’ve heard cyclists in town talk about “meeting at the dog” for a group ride. That dog, at 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue, is more formally known as Gamekeeper’s Night Dog (1989) by Victoria Davila.
And that magnet for tourists, the Rocky statue at the foot of the Art Museum, is actually a gift to the city from actor Sylvester Stallone. The statue, made in 1980 by A. Thomas Schomberg, was a movie prop for Rocky III.
There’s a lot to learn about all this art we live among every day. After reading the book, you’ll probably see the city’s art collection with fresh eyes and notice sculptures you might have passed by before with hardly a glance.
You can pick up the 228-page book at City Hall Visitor Center (and a few other locations listed below. Donations received in exchange for the book go toward the care and preservation of the city’s public art collection. You can also check it out online in its entirety here. Spring for the tangible copy, though. It’s a great stocking-stuffer idea for the art lover on your list.
You can also pick up A Guide to Philadelphia’s Public Art at:
- Philadelphia Museum of Art Gift Shop
- Portfolio Gift Shop at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
- Hello World at 36th and Sansom streets
- Penn Book Center -at 34th and Sansom streets
- Pennsylvania General Store in the Reading Terminal Market
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