Striving (1995)

by Charles Searles (1937 - 2004)

Photo Caption: Photo Maxine Mendoza © 2008 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Striving

  • Artist

    Charles Searles (1937 - 2004)

  • Year

    1995

  • Location

    First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street

  • Medium

    Bronze, on concrete and brick base

  • Dimensions

    Height 11′, width 6′; depth 2’8″

  • Themes

    Black and African American Themes and Artists

Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Owned by the First Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church

At A Glance

  • Dedicated to Richard Allen, a slave who purchased his freedom and become a prominent citizen in Philadelphia

  • One of artist Charles Searles’ first public artworks in bronze

  • Striving was described as “symbolic of African American peoples’ long and continued journey forward toward a better and higher level of existence and achievement in the United States.”

Striving is one of Searles’ first public artworks in bronze, a departure from the boldly painted wood sculptures that he is known for.

Standing at 11 feet tall in front of First District Plaza, the abstract bronze Striving was described by the artist, Charles Searles, as “symbolic of African American peoples’ long and continued journey forward toward a better and higher level of existence and achievement in the United States.” The sculpture was dedicated to the spirit of the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s founder, Richard Allen, a slave who purchased his freedom and become a prominent citizen in Philadelphia. Striving was commissioned by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, owner and developer of First District Plaza, through the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art program.

A Philadelphia Native, Searles grew up in the neighborhood adjacent to First District Plaza. He attended the University of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and taught at the University of the Arts. Striving is one of Searles’ first public artworks in bronze, a departure from the boldly painted wood sculptures that he is known for.

 

RESOURCES

This artwork is part of the Around University City tour

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