Our 2019 Public Art Highlights

Disassembling Jacob Epstein’s Social Consciousness at the Philadelphia Museum of Art for relocation to Penn. Photo Gregory Benson © 2019 for the Association for Public Art.

aPA’s Nevelson and Epstein Sculptures to Penn

This summer, aPA placed two monumental works on long-term loan to Penn: Atmosphere and Environment XII (1970) by Louise Nevelson and Social Consciousness (1954) by Sir Jacob Epstein. Both sculptures were moved from the West Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Shoemaker Green and the Memorial Garden Walkway, respectively. Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director & Chief Curator of aPA summarized the relocations as optimal sites where the works “can be viewed and appreciated by new audiences” and “revisited by existing fans.” Curator & Executive Director of Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery, Lynn Marsden-Atlass, agrees that the sculptures will “become integral to experiencing Penn’s campus.” More on the relocation»

Installation of Louise Nevelson's bronze, geometric "Atmosphere and Environment" sculpture on Penn's campus
Installing Louise Nevelson’s Atmosphere and Environment XII on Penn’s campus after the sculpture was relocated from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Photo Gregory Benson © 2019 for the Association for Public Art.


Did You Know? Established in 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association, now the Association for Public Art, is the first non-profit public art organization in the U.S. In 2022, aPA will celebrate our 150th anniversary. See our timeline


Conservators treating a bronze statue of Walt Whitman in south philadelphia
Conservation of the Walt Whitman sculpture by artist Jo Davidson for the poet’s 200th birthday. Photo Caitlin Martin © 2019 for the Association for Public Art.

Walt Whitman Conserved for 200th Birthday

The aPA sent our conservators from Tatti Conservation to give the Walt Whitman statue in South Philadelphia some special treatment for the regional celebration of the poet’s 200th birthday. The sculpture, by artist Jo Davidson, was cast in 1957 and purchased and installed by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) in 1959. The aPA cares for over 30 outdoor sculptures in Philadelphia each spring, providing annual conservation maintenance and taking on special projects as needed. Artworks treated in 2019»


Did You Know? Our conservation program was launched in 1982, and is one of the longest continuously-operating programs of its kind in the United States. Learn more


Maja sculpture of female bronze nude atop steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art - black and white photo
Maja installed at the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1949. Photo courtesy Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries.

Maja Sculpture and Park Announcement

In March, aPA announced that we’ll be installing our Maja (1942) sculpture by artist Gerhard Marcks (1889-1981) in “Maja Park” – a newly planned park that broke ground in October for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, located in front of the Park Towne Place Museum District Residences. The sculpture has been tucked away in storage for more than 25 years, but it once stood on the East Terrace of the Philadelphia Museum of Art for decades. More on the announcement»


Sculpture Zoo in Logan Circle event - sculptor making sculpture of a duck
Artist Darla Jackson sculpting a duck at Sculpture Zoo in Logan Circle. Photo Alec Rogers © 2019 for the Association for Public Art.

Sculpture Zoo in Logan Circle

More than 1,200 visitors saw public art come to life at aPA’s free and family friendly Sculpture Zoo in Logan Circle event in June. Live turtles, toads, and ducks enlivened Alexander Stirling Calder’s Swann Memorial Fountain (1924) while participants enjoyed sculpture-making workshops and demonstrations by Philadelphia-based artists. The sweetest part? Free ice cream samples from our event partner Culture Republick, who joins our growing list of Partners for Public Art. More on Partners for Public Art»


Bilingual AMOR Audio Program

The aPA announced the latest audio in its ever-expanding Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program – and it’s available in English and Spanish! The audio for Robert Indiana’s AMOR (1998) is now one of 79 audio programs for outdoor sculptures in Philadelphia, accessible for free by phone, mobile app, or online streaming and video. The bilingual audio features never-before-heard audio from our interview with Robert Indiana (1928-2018), and other real voices with a connection to the artwork. Watch and listen in English or Spanish »



Related Artworks


Social Consciousness


by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880 - 1959)

University of Pennsylvania, Memorial Garden Walkway near the Van Pelt Library

The Eternal Mother is seated with arms outstretched. Flanking her are two standing female figures: one representing Compassion and another that personifies Death. In 2019, Social Consciousness was relocated from the West Entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to the University of Pennsylvania.


Atmosphere and Environment XII


by Louise Nevelson (1899 - 1988)

University of Pennsylvania, Shoemaker Green (east of 33rd Street between Walnut and Spruce Streets)

Atmosphere and Environment XII is a product of the mature style of Louise Nevelson, one of the most influential artists of the decades following World War II.


Walt Whitman

(1939, cast 1957)

by Jo Davidson (1883 - 1952)

Broad Street and Packer Avenue

The bronze by artist Jo Davidson captures the spirit of the free-striding American bard. This is a second cast from a plaster original.


Swann Memorial Fountain


by Alexander Stirling Calder (1870 - 1945)

Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 19th Street

Three bronze Native Americans that represent Philadelphia’s three main waterways: the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, and Wissahickon Creek.

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