Great Art for a Great City: Public Art Forum Releases Mayoral Brief

Great Art for a Great City: Public Art Forum Releases Mayoral Brief

The Philadelphia Public Art Forum Advocacy Committee recently released “Great Art for a Great City, ” a mayoral brief directed at the candidates running for Philadelphia mayor in 2007. A summary is below.


Why Public Art is Important for Philadelphia

Clothespin sculpture on the cover of Public Art Forum's Mayoral Brief

Philadelphia has the largest and one of the most important collections of public art in the world, and the first public art programs in the United States. The next mayor of Philadelphia needs to promote and protect this significant civic asset.

Public art is available for all the citizens of Philadelphia without a ticket

  • Is accessible to everyone regardless of neighborhood, education, income, race, gender, and age
  • Is located in neighborhoods throughout the city

Public art enhances the quality of life of our city for residents, workers, and visitors  Represents a tangible commitment to the public environment

  • Makes a highly desirable location to live, work, and create
  • Attracts businesses and individuals to relocate to and stay in Philadelphia

Public art is integral to and emblematic of a world-class, great city

  • Encourages tourism
  • Stimulates the economy
  • Provides opportunities for civic dialogue
  • Initiates new ideas
  • Generates community stability
  • Serves as a catalyst for revitalization

Public art invigorates and creates good public spaces and gathering places

  • Attracts a variety of audiences
  • Contributes to vibrant community life
  • Encourages use of the spaces it occupies

Public art is part of our cultural heritage

  • Represents humanity’s highest aspiration as a symbol of our collective experience and history
  • Becomes our legacy for generations to come

Public art endows public spaces with distinctive identities

  • Represents beloved symbols for the city (i.e., LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana; Clothespin by Claes Oldenburg; Cowboy by Frederic Remington)
  • Strengthens civic pride and identification with the city
Night time view of "Cowboy" by Frederic Remington
Cowboy by Frederic Remington. Photo Gregory Benson © 2003 for the Association for Public Art.

The Public Art Forum is a coalition of public art professionals in Philadelphia. Members of the Forum Advocacy Committee include representatives from the Fairmount Park Art Association, the Redevelopment Authority Percent for Art Program, the City of Philadelphia Public Art Program, and the SEPTA Art in Transit Program.

Related Artworks




by Robert Indiana (1928 - 2018)

15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard

For the bicentennial celebration in 1976, artist Robert Indiana lent the city a large aluminum sculpture of his “love” image. Indiana first produced this design as a painting in 1964.




by Claes Oldenburg (1929 - 2022)

Centre Square Plaza, 15th and Market Streets

Facing City Hall tower with its sculpture of William Penn, Clothespin has the jolting and humorous effect of a familiar object seen out of context.




by Frederic Remington (1861 - 1909)

Kelly Drive north of Girard Avenue Bridge

Intrigued by the interaction of the cowboy and his horse, Frederic Remington found inspiration in the roughriders of the American West.

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