The Fairmount Park Art Association’s most recent commission, Manayunk Stoops: Heart and Home, was featured on WRTI’s Creatively Speaking! on December 9, 2006. Susan Lewis interviewed artist Diane Pieri, Kay Sykora from the Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC), and the Art Association’s Executive Director, Penny Balkin Bach, about the project along the Manayunk Canal Towpath.
Creatively Speaking! is a weekly news radio program focusing on local arts and culture in the Philadelphia area.
About the Artwork
Manayunk Stoops: Heart and Home consists of nine mosaic “stoops” that enhance and interpret the physical and natural environment of the Manayunk Canal Towpath. The artwork includes imagery inspired by the native flora, fauna, and industrial heritage of the Manayunk area. The stoops, situated in five sites between Lock and Cotton Streets, serve as seating elements along the Canal and are an interpretation of the front steps and entryways that mark the neighborhood’s architecture and street life.
Manayunk Stoops was commissioned through the Fairmount Park Art Association’s (now the Association for Public Art) ongoing program New•Land•Marks: public art, community, and the meaning of place. Artists Diane Pieri and Vicki Scuri developed an initial project proposal for the site by meeting with community groups including the North Light Community Center, the Manayunk Development Corporation, and Venice Island Playground Community Council. They investigated the Canal, neighborhood, local history, industry, and culture. With the North Light Community Center, Pieri led several community workshops where children shared stories, memories, and reflections of their experiences growing up in the neighborhood.