Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies
by artist Cai Guo-Qiang Commissioned by the Association for Public Art with Fung Collaboratives
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Video by 33 Studio, WeFilmPhilly Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017 for the Association for Public Art.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

September 15 - October 8, 2017, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia

 Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Parkway for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies and supported this magical installation! Photos below.

 

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Parkway at night
Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies. Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017.
  • Internationally renowned artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s largest public art project in the US in a decade
  • Commissioned by the Association for Public Art with Fung Collaboratives on the occasion of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s centennial, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
  • 27 customized pedicabs adorned with hundreds of luminous colorful lanterns glided along the Parkway at night, drawing on memories of the traditional lantern festivals of the artist’s childhood
  • Ran September 15 – October 8, 2017 on the Parkway, Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10pm
  • Opening celebration and premiere was September 14th, with a special artist-led performance
  • Free public rides in the pedicabs began September 15th with one-way trips from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park and vice versa. Walk-ups were welcome and reservations could be made online.

 

members of the public were invited to board the vehicles to take rides up and down the Parkway from Sister Cities Park at Logan Square to Iroquois Park across from Eakins Oval

In September 2017, the Association for Public Art (aPA) in Philadelphia presented a major new site-specific work by the internationally acclaimed artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Commissioned by aPA with Fung Collaboratives on the occasion of the centennial of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies invited the public to actively experience the grand boulevard as a nocturnal dreamscape conjured from the languorous movements of bobbing clusters of glowing handcrafted Chinese lanterns and groups of customized peddle vehicles. Nine hundred illuminated lanterns in a bevy of colors and shapes floated along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, held aloft by a fleet of 27 pedicabs.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies pedicabs
Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies public rides on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017.

Fireflies, the artist’s largest public art project in the US in a decade, ran for approximately four weekends: September 14 to October 8, 2017, Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10pm. Beginning September 15, members of the public were invited to board the vehicles to take rides up and down the Parkway from Sister Cities Park at Logan Square to Iroquois Park across from Eakins Oval.

The Fireflies lanterns were handcrafted in Cai Guo-Qiang’s hometown of Quanzhou, China. Their bright, twinkling lights evoked the artist’s own childhood memories. Among them were orb and star shaped lanterns, as well as designs of emojis; pandas, roosters and tigers; space aliens and UFOs; cars, trains, boats, submarines, helicopters, and rocket ships; and hamburgers, sushi, and donuts. Transported to Philadelphia, their various colors and shapes evoked the diverse cultures and peoples that come from all over the world to take root in the US.

Major support for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

 

 

Support Fireflies!

Your gift will support the world premiere of Fireflies in Philadelphia.

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Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Guo-Qiang with children and lanterns in Quanzhou, China
Cai Guo-Qiang with children and lanterns in Quanzhou, China. Photo courtesy Cai Studio.

For more than 25 years, Cai Guo-Qiang’s practice has spanned a range of media in contemporary art, including drawing, installation, video, and performance art, as well as a range of Chinese traditions in medicine, art, and place making. The artist is famous for his virtuosic and poetic use of fireworks and gunpowder and has been honored with many awards, including the 48th Venice Biennale International Golden Lion Prize in 1999, the 2013 U.S. Department of State’s Medal of Arts, and the Praemium Imperiale in 2012. In 2016, Netflix released Sky Ladder, a 1 hour and 44 minute film documenting one of Cai Guo-Qiang’s most celebrated public projects.

Opening Celebration | Thursday, September 14th

Featuring a performance directed by Cai Guo-Qiang

What a night! Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies opening celebration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The public can now take free rides in the “fireflies” through October 8th, Thursdays – Sundays from 6-10pm. 

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies
Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies opening celebration on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017.

 

OPENING CELEBRATION AND WORLD PREMIERE OF CAI GUO-QIANG: FIREFLIES
Thursday, September 14, 2017
6:30 – 9:30PM | Remarks and Performance at 7:30PM

Benjamin Franklin Parkway between 22nd Street and Eakins Oval, Philadelphia, PA

A free public celebration kicks off Fireflies on Thursday, September 14, featuring a one-time-only public performance directed by Cai Guo-Qiang. The artist will orchestrate a dream-like light and movement performance with the Fireflies pedicabs, creating a luminous choreography on the Parkway. Attendees are invited to observe the delicate aerial dance of the pedicabs and their lanterns along the roadway performance space, between 22nd Street and Eakins Oval on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Starting at 6:30pm, Yards Brewing Company Pop-Up Beer Garden will be available to guests ages 21 years and older (CASH ONLY). Food trucks will include The Cow and the Curd, My Four Suns, Creme Brulee, and Tasty Eats.

*Public rides in Fireflies begin the following day, Friday, September 15th! Walk-ups are welcome, but online reservations can be made here.

 

#Firefliesphilly

Share your photos on Twitter or Instagram using #FirefliesPhilly! @assocpublicart

 

Support Fireflies!

Click below to make a gift today!

Donate

 

 

Visit Fireflies in Philadelphia

Walk-ups welcomed (even on nights that reservations are full); September 15 – October 8, 2017, Thursdays – Sundays, 6-10pm, Benjamin Franklin Parkway

 Thank you to everyone who joined us on the Parkway for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies and supported this magical installation!

 

Pedicab Rides  |  Getting There  |  Where to Watch  |  Events Nearby  | Book a Stay   |  Contest

 

Fireflies on the Parkway
Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies on the Parkway. Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017.

PEDICAB RIDES

Enjoy FREE Fireflies pedicab rides and watch the glowing vehicles move along the Parkway from September 15 – October 8, 2017, Thursdays through Sundays from 6-10pm. These are ONE-WAY rides for up to two people on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park or vice versa. The vehicles can accommodate up to two passengers, and each trip takes approximately 15 minutes. Walk-ups are welcome, but online reservations can be made below.

Is the night that you’re wanting to reserve a ride sold out?
• Check back at a later date for reservations in case other people cancel
• Walk-ups will be welcomed, even on nights that reservations are full

 

PROJECT HUBS

Iroquois Park
One “Hub” will be at Iroquois Park (above). Photo James Ewing Photography © 2014.
Sister Cities Park
The other “Hub” will be at Sister Cities Park (above). Photo Todd Mason Halkin, courtesy Center City District.

Head to the two Fireflies “Project Hubs” (headquarters) on the Parkway – one at Iroquois Park and the other at Sister Cities Park – to board the pedicabs and watch the Fireflies glide by. Some seating will be available at these “outdoor living rooms,” and picnicking is welcomed! There will be nearly-nightly food trucks at Iroquois Park, and The Logan Cafe at Sister Cities Park will have extended hours. A new film about artist Cai Guo-Qiang and Fireflies will also be playing at both locations. Check this page or aPA’s Twitter feed for updates!

 

ROUTES

Route 1: Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park

Map of pedicab route - Iroquois Park to Sister Cities Park
Click to view map in Google Maps

This route BEGINS AT IROQUOIS PARK, located at 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and ENDS AT SISTER CITIES PARK, located at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Logan Square. Please board at Iroquois Park.

This is a free ONE-WAY ride for up to two people, weather permitting. The route is approximately one mile and takes about 15 minutes. 

Walk-ups are welcome, even on nights that reservations are full! 

 

 

Route 2: Sister Cities Park to Iroquois Park

Click to view map in Google Maps

This route BEGINS AT SISTER CITIES PARK, located at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at Logan Square, and ENDS AT IROQUOIS PARK, located at 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Please board at Sister Cities Park.

This is a free ONE-WAY ride for up to two people, weather permitting. The route is approximately one mile and takes about 15 minutes. 

Walk-ups are welcome, even on nights that reservations are full!

RESERVE RIDE (Sister Cities to Iroquois)

If the ride you want is sold out, check back in case other people cancel. And walk-ups will be welcomed even if reservations are full!

 

RULES AND REGULATIONS

  • ALL​ ​PARTICIPANTS​ ​RIDE​ ​IN​ ​A​ ​FIREFLIES​ ​PEDICAB​ ​AT​ ​THEIR​ ​OWN​ ​RISK.
  • Each​ ​pedicab​ ​can​ ​carry​ ​two​ ​adults​ ​and​ ​one​ ​child​ ​under​ ​2​ ​years​ ​or​ ​one​ ​adult​ ​and​ ​two​ ​childrenunder​ ​12​ ​years.​ (The reason we are limiting number of passengers is because of weight)
  • Riders​ ​under​ ​18​ ​years​ ​must​ ​be​ ​accompanied​ ​by​ ​an​ ​adult.
  • Children​ ​under​ ​12​ ​years​ ​must​ ​wear​ ​a​ ​helmet​ ​(PA​ ​vehicle​ ​code,​ ​75​ ​Pa.C.S.​ ​§3510). The aPA will follow Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3510, which requires that all​ ​children​ ​under12​ ​wear​ ​a​ ​helmet​ ​while​ ​riding​ ​in​ ​a​ ​pedalcycle​ ​vehicle​. We advise parents of children under 12 if inpossession of a helmet for their child to bring it with them for their reserved or walk-up ride on Fireflies. Forthose that do not have personal helmets for their children, we will have a limited number of youth helmetsavailable at each project hub location. The availability of these helmets however, may increase wait times.Adults​ ​are​ ​not​ ​required​ ​to​ ​wear​ ​a​ ​helmet.
  • Only​ ​children​ ​under​ ​2​ ​years​ ​should​ ​be​ ​on​ ​an​ ​adult’s​ ​lap.
  • NO​ ​animals​ ​(except​ ​harnessed​ ​service​ ​dogs).
  • NO​ ​smoking,​ ​food,​ ​or​ ​drink​ ​inside​ ​the​ ​pedicab.
  • NO​ ​standing​ ​in​ ​the​ ​pedicab.
  • Keep​ ​all​ ​hands,​ ​arms,​ ​feet,​ ​and​ ​legs​ ​in​ ​the​ ​pedicab​ ​at​ ​all​ ​times.
  • Remain​ ​in​ ​the​ ​pedicab​ ​until​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​a​ ​complete​ ​stop​ ​at​ ​the​ ​unloading​ ​point.
  • Please​ ​follow​ ​all​ ​instructions​ ​from​ ​the​ ​pedicab​ ​operator.
  • Tipping​ ​the​ ​operator​ ​is​ ​not​ ​necessary.
  • Fireflies​ ​pedicabs​ ​are​ ​artworks;​ ​please​ ​do​ ​not​ ​touch​ ​the​ ​lanterns.
  • Rides​ ​are​ ​weather​ ​permitting​ ​and​ ​will​ ​not​ ​operate​ ​in​ ​inclement​ ​weather.
  • aPA​ ​and​ ​its​ ​affiliates​ ​are​ ​not​ ​responsible​ ​for​ ​the​ ​loss​ ​of​ ​any​ ​personal​ ​belongings.
  • Passengers​ ​must​ ​practice​ ​common​ ​courtesy​ ​and​ ​appropriate​ ​behavior.
  • Pedicab​ ​operators​ ​reserve​ ​the​ ​right​ ​to​ ​remove​ ​any​ ​rider​ ​in​ ​violation​ ​of​ ​these​ ​rules.

 


 

How to Get There

Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017

Ride Indego
Indego is Philadelphia’s official bike share program and great way to get around town. See a map of all Indego bike stations or download the app. Use your credit card at any station to buy a single trip at $4 per half-hour.

      • Nearest bike stations:
        Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy
        Rodin Museum, 2170 Hamilton Street
        Free Library of Philadelphia, 302 N. 19th Street
        2601 Pennsylvania Avenue
        2237 Fairmount Avenue
        1750 John F. Kennedy Blvd

 

Philly PHLASH
Philly PHLASH Downtown Loop™ is the quick and easy way to visit many of Philly’s historic attractions and cultural institutions, including those on the Parkway. The cost is $2 per person per ride or $5 for an all-day pass, and children 4 and under and seniors ride for free. The PHLASH operates Friday-Sunday 10AM-6PM during Fireflies.

 


 

Where to Watch & Events Nearby

Cai Guo-Qiang Fireflies lanterns
Photo Jeff Fusco Photography © 2017

There are plenty of great places to watch the Fireflies traverse the Parkway, and many fantastic events happening nearbyincluding Opera Philadelphia’s Festival, Friday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute’s Terracotta Warriors exhibit, Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival, and Parkway 100 events. See below for our recommendations!

Where to Watch Fireflies

Things to Do Near Fireflies

 

Parks on Tap logo
Get the Parks on Tap perspective! Parks on Tap at Shakespeare Park (on the Parkway) is the official beer garden of FirefliesCome for fresh food, beer on tap, wine, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages in a festive outdoor environment featuring comfortable seating, clean restrooms and a variety of family-friendly activities. A portion of the proceeds benefits Philadelphia’s parks! Open Thursdays through Sundays, September 15 – October 8, 5-10PM.

 


 

Book a Stay

The Logan’s Assembly Rooftop Lounge, which overlooks the Parkway. Photo courtesy The Logan.

A chic art-inspired hotel right on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, The Logan, Philadelphia’s Hotel is the official hotel of Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies. Conveniently located across from Sister Cities Park, The Logan offers incredible views of the Parkway and Logan Square (see Swann Memorial Fountain). Guests can enjoy the hotel’s curated local art collection, its Assembly Rooftop Lounge and Urban Farmer steakhouse, and the many cultural institutions within walking distance, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Franklin Institute, and The Barnes Foundation. See a list of offers and special packages for The Logan Hotel.

 

For deals on other hotels in the area, check out The Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package. Participating hotels nearby include The Windsor Suites, Embassy Suites, and Sheraton Downtown Philadelphia.

 


Thank you to our Supporters and Partners!

Major support for Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Association for Public Art (aPA), John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Prudent Management Associates Independence Foundation, the Hess Foundation, Glenmede, and individual donors. In-kind support provided by Tierney; Pennsylvania Convention Center; Expert Events; Park Towne Place Museum District Residences; The Logan, Philadelphia’s HotelChina Partnership of Greater Philadelphia; Materials Conservation; Sang Kee Peking Duck House; Take One Production; Yards Brewing Co.Clear Channel; and media sponsor WHYY. Our partners include: Velo-Park; Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Philadelphia Streets Department; the Mayor’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy; Center City District; Visit PhiladelphiaThe Parkway Council; (as of September 2017).

 

Support Fireflies!

Questions? Contact contributions@associationforpublicart.org

Donate

 

About the Association for Public Art

The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, interprets, and promotes public art in Philadelphia. The aPA is the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a “Museum Without Walls” that informs, engages, and inspires diverse audiences. We honor the past while supporting originality and innovation, and we advance opportunities for creative people to contribute to the city’s places and spaces. Established in 1872, the aPA integrates public art and urban design through exemplary programs and advocacy efforts that connect people with public art.

 

About Fung Collaboratives

As chief curator of Fung Collaboratives, Lance Fung conceives and realizes art exhibitions around the world.  These include The Snow Show (2003-2006), wherein he partnered artists with architects to realize structures made primarily from snow and ice; Lucky Number Seven, the seventh SITE Santa Fe International Biennial, for which he assembled 26 artists from outside the US to create site-specific installations; and Artlantic (2012-2014), which transformed vacant lots in Atlantic City via “giant living sculptures.” Currently he is organizing Migrations for the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) to bring ephemeral, temporary and permanent artworks along and within the Bay Trails.

 

Fireflies Production Team

SPECIAL THANKS TO THOSE WHO HELPED MAKE FIREFLIES POSSIBLE:

Artist
Cai Guo-Qiang

Cai Studio

Hong Hong Wu
Silin Chow
Béatrice Grenier
Yi-Boe Hyun
Lin King
Sang Luo
Tatsumi Masatoshi
Anqi Xu
Chiaying Yu
Lulu Zhang
Yvonne Zhou
Zhenhuan Zhou
Ziaohong Zhou

Association for Public Art Staff
Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director & Chief Curator
Greta Gabriel, Project Assistant
Laura S. Griffith, Associate Director
Ashley Lippolis, Digital Content & Program Assistant
Caitlin Martin, Media & Communications Manager
Susan Myers, Assistant Curator & Project Manager
Ginger Osborne, Office Manager
Nora Sutherland, Development Manager

Association for Public Art Interns
Leina Betzer
Kasey McCarver
Alec Rogers
Isabella Siegel
Brisa Smith Flores
Tiffany Wang

Association for Public Art Board of Trustees
Barbara B. Aronson, President
Suzanne Sheehan Becker, Vice President
Kenneth Finkel, Vice President
William D. McCall, Treasurer
Gregory M. Harvey, Esquire, Secretary
Walter D’Alessio
Leonardo Diaz, AIA
Alan Greenberger, FAIA
Eric Halpern
Joseph K. Hetrick, Esquire
Emanuel Kelly, FAIA
Eugene Lefevre
Charles E. Mather III, Esquire
Theodore T. Newbold
Patricia C. Phillips
Jennifer Rodriguez
Timothy Rub
Susan K. Weiler, FASLA, RLA

Fireflies Project Hub Coordinator
Natalie Diener

Fireflies Pedicab Operations Manager
Ronn Ash of Velo-Park

Fireflies PR Management
Anne Edgar of Anne Edgar Associates

Design of Fireflies mark and project materials
Tierney

Fireflies Artist Reception and Public Opening
Sharon McCullough of Expert Events, Dan Love of Catering by Design, and Park Towne Place

Fireflies Fabrication Team from Atelier
Chen Li Chang, Katie Dillon Low, Adam Amram, Chris Capriotti, Zack Cox, Evan Dawson, Abel Dolby, Meredith Gillespie, Travis Johnson, Derek Jones, Xander Karkruff, Tyler Kline, Paul Koneazny, Patrick Lynch, Abe Murley, Todd Noe, Ryan Pellak, Sean Roberts, Molly Sampson, Lynn Smith, Samuel Thuman, Austin White, and Dan Zyk

Fireflies Art Ambassadors
Dina Steiner, Florenz Balane, Michael Cosenza, Sarah Davis, Greta Gabriel, Summer Grenyion-Smith, Carolina Hernandez, Zixiao Huang, Caitlin Kenny, Rachel Paul, Kahzar Powell, Reina Qu, Althea Rao, Chad Smalt, Brisa Smith Flores, Zara Waters, Amber Weeks, and Zack Zubry

Fireflies Pedicab Operators
German Acosta, Emma Bedlin, Christian Blackwell, Ariel Campbell, Bradley Clayton, Zena Cohen, Dave Dawson, Mike De Mayo, Caleb Debouse, Nicole Di Tomasso, Kevin Donley, Quinn Dougherty, Anthony Durkin, Eli Druitt, Nick Dziewit, Eric Eschborn, Lee Fogel, Kenneth Fulton, Pedro Garcia, Adrian Gordon, Robert Heister, Jorge Holguin, Sadiqaa Horton, Clyde Jurysta, James Klebacha, Tyler Kline, Justin Koniczech, Brian Kraemer, Sam Leigh, Jimmy Low, Aaron Margulis, Becky Mastin, Frann Mawusi, Mecca Medina, Beth Miller, Omayra Miranda, Hasan Mubah-Neal, Larry Napolitano, Joshua Nieves, Paige Phillips, Mohammed Qudos, Alec Rogers, Latisha Santiago, Allie Sasek, Zachary Smith, Louis Weil, Andy Zentner, Ash Will

Fireflies Videographers
Greenhouse Media
Studio 33
WeFilmPhilly

Fireflies Photographers
Johanna Austin
Meredith Edlow
Jeff Fusco Photography
Alec Rogers

Special Thanks
The Parkway Council
Center City District
Visit Philly
China Partnership of Greater Philadelphia

Many City of Philadelphia Departments including:
Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation – Barry Bessler, Aparna Palantino, and Doug Robinson
City of Philadelphia Office of Special Events
Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
Philadelphia Streets Department
Philadelphia Police Department

For more information, the media may contact

Anne Edgar, anne@anneedgar.com, 646-567-3586