This initiative makes many of Philadelphia’s parks, pathways, and public artworks even easier to explore
Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy recently announced that Philadelphia has become the first major U.S city to map its urban trails and attractions for Google Street View. The footage for the mapping was captured by Parks and Recreation employees, who hiked over 400 miles using Google’s 50-pound Trekker Backpacks. This initiative makes many of Philadelphia’s parks, pathways, and public artworks even easier to explore, and offers a way to experience the city’s vast collection of outdoor sculpture for those who might not be able to otherwise. Below are some public art gems initiated by the Association for Public Art (aPA) that are now accessible through Google Street View.
Pavilion in the Trees (1993) by Martin Puryear
Martin Puryear’s Pavilion in the Trees was commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) in 1981, and was installed in 1993. Tucked away near the Horticulture Center in West Fairmount Park, the work was developed for aPA’s Form and Function program. Because of its position high in the trees, Pavilion is a great spot to relax and contemplate the beauty of nature. Another public work by Puryear, Big Bling, is currently on view along Philadelphia’s Kelly Drive. Big Bling is Puryear’s largest temporary outdoor sculpture to date and is presented by the Association for Public Art (aPA) and commissioned by Madison Square Park Conservancy, New York.
Fingerspan (1987) by Jody Pinto
Jody Pinto’s landmark sculpture was commissioned by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) in 1987. Fingerspan is Pinto’s first permanent outdoor installation in the United States and was created from 18,000 pounds of weathering steel. Located on the Wissahickon Creek trail near Livezey Dam, it provides a link between the human body and the natural world.
Cow Elephant and Calf (1962) by Heinz Warneke
Cow Elephant and Calf , a life-size, 37-ton monolith of Norwegian granite, stands near the Philadelphia Zoo’s main entrance. It is considered the largest free-standing single-block sculpture in the United States. Chosen for the commission by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) in 1959, artist Heinz Warneke is also known for his sculptures The Immigrant in the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial and the Nittany Lion on Penn State’s campus in State College, PA.
Lioness Carrying to Her Young a Wild Boar (1886) by Auguste Cain
Auguste Cain, who was born in Paris, exhibited his Lioness in the French Salon of 1886 before it was acquired by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art). Before its installation at the Philadelphia Zoo, the artwork had been moved twice. It was relocated to the foot of Lemon Hill from its original site on Kelly Drive because, a contemporary newspaper said, its “realistic pose . . . terrified many horses, that in other respects were fearless.” The sculpture was ultimately relocated to the Philadelphia Zoo in 1951.