In April 2012, the Association for Public Art (aPA) presented Site Seeing: Rediscover Public Art this Spring!, a month-long celebration of public art that invited Philadelphians and visitors to rediscover the city’s outdoor sculpture. This series of four free programs engaged city residents and tourists with public art in new and unexpected ways:
An Evening of Tango at the Swann Memorial Fountain invited audiences to reimagine a historic tango dance party and celebrate the return of spring at Logan Circle’s Swann Memorial Fountain.
Next, public art got a lift with a Public Art Pathway made up of giant balloons directing visitors to sculptures and Public Art Ambassadors along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
For those wanting to see public art in a new light, a one-night-only Sculpture Flashlight Mob was an open invitation for participants to illuminate the abstract Iroquois sculpture with a symphony of flashlights.
Finally, two weekends of Public Art Bike Tours let cyclists, casual bike-riders and active families experience Fairmount Park’s hidden treasures on two wheels.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
An Evening of Tango at the Swann Memorial Fountain
Thursday, April 5, 2012, 5:30pm – 7:30pm**
Logan Circle, 19th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Public Art Pathway
Saturday, April 21 and Saturday, April 28, 2012, 11:00am – 4:00pm
Benjamin Franklin Parkway from LOVE Park
Sculpture Flashlight Mob
Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 8:30pm – 10:00pm
Iroquois sculpture, 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Public Art Bike Tours
Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 29, 2012, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Tours begin at the Iroquois sculpture, 24th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
An Evening of Tango at the Swann Memorial Fountain invited audiences to reimagine a historic 1924 Philadelphia dance party and celebrate the fountain’s water being turned on for the season — a Philly rite of spring — in the center of one of the city’s most famous intersections. During the summers of the early 1920s, large-scale municipal dances were hosted weekly on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway; residents would come together to dance the tango to the beat of the Police Band. On July 24, 1924, the day after Swann Memorial Fountain was unveiled to the public, thousands danced in celebration. The Association for Public Art reimagined these gatherings with An Evening of Tango at the Swann Memorial Fountain.
Photo by Lindsay Browning for the Association for Public Art
Public Art Pathway saw giant white balloons flying high over twelve outdoor sculptures on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, April 21 and Saturday, April 28, from 11:00am to 4:00pm. The balloons highlighted the sculptures and transformed that part of the Parkway into “a giant Google map, a format that people are now familiar with,” said aPA Executive Director Penny Bach. aPA “Public Art Ambassadors” were also stationed at each of the sculptures, ready to talk about the artworks.
Photo by Caitlin Martin for the Association for Public Art
Iroquois, created by Mark di Suvero in 1983 and installed in 2007 by the Association for Public Art, is normally illuminated every evening on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — but on April 25th, 2012 the city turned off those lights for Sculpture Flashlight Mob, allowing “flashlight-mobbers” in the dark to create their own dynamic lighting effects using flashlights. The monumental abstract sculpture became the focus of a unique light performance.
Photo by Den Sweeney, winner of our Flashlight Mob photo contest
Marking the debut of a brand-new Public Art Bike Map, the Association for Public Art hosted two days of twice-daily guided Public Art Bike Tours of Fairmount Park sculptures. Participants could choose from an easy, family-friendly 4-mile loop or a longer, more challenging 10-mile route that visits lesser-known sculptures in West Fairmount Park. The tours were offered in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Photo by Craig Harris for the Association for Public Art