“Art on the Parkway” Installation Coming to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as part of The 2024 Oval

Press Release

“Art on the Parkway” Installation Coming to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as part of The 2024 Oval


For media requests, please contact:
Ashley Lippolis or Susan Myers, Association for Public Art
alippolis@associationfpublicart.org | smyers@associationforpublicart.org
Office: 215.546.7550


PHILADELPHIA, PA, June 20, 2024 — The Association for Public Art (aPA) and the Parkway Council are thrilled to announce that a new temporary public artwork by Philadelphia-based artist Rachel Hsu, titled The Weight of Our Living, will be installed in Maja Park at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The installation will be on view from August 1 to October 27, 2024 as a signature highlight of The 2024 Oval—a summertime transformation of Eakins Oval and the Parkway into a park for all.

The artwork was the selected proposal for Art on the Parkway, a juried competition co-organized by the Association for Public Art (aPA) and the Parkway Council, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR). Support for the project was provided, in part, by AIR Communities/Park Towne Place and Prudent Management Associates.

The Weight of Our Living by Rachael Hsu, artist rendering

Rachel Hsu’s proposal, her first-ever public artwork, stood out for its innovative blend of public art and wellness, and potential for cultural exchange. Inspired by reflexology footpaths in Taiwan’s public parks, the artwork invites the public to embark on a tactile and meditative journey. Visitors are encouraged to remove their shoes before traversing an undulating surface of river stones embedded in a six-foot-diameter circular platform. An adjacent curved seating element creates a space for repose and reflection, offering an escape from the fast pace of urban life. This grounding, restorative installation encourages us to slow down and be mindful of our bodies in space. It gives us the opportunity to focus on the natural environment surrounding the work and make a physical journey that connects emotional endurance with physical experience. 

“Rachel Hsu’s installation not only showcases the remarkable artistic talent within our city but also demonstrates the transformative power of public art,” says aPA’s Executive Director, Charlotte Cohen. “The Association for Public Art will continue collaborating with our partners to create even more opportunities like this for Philadelphia artists.” Nicholas Anderson, Executive Director of the Parkway Council, added, “As the Parkway Council looks toward transforming the Parkway into a great urban park for all, projects such as this help to demonstrate the power of public space to bring communities and cultures together.”

The Weight of Our Living by Rachael Hsu, artist rendering

Art on the Parkway, which was open exclusively to artists and designers living or working in the  Philadelphia area, invited proposals that explore the ways art can help create and define a sense of place; celebrate the Parkway’s historic built environment; and explore its future as a more inclusive and vibrant public space for all Philadelphians. The selected proposal was chosen by a panel of outside jurors, including Renee Schacht, Co-founder and Executive Director of Tiny WPA; Julie Bush, Landscape Architect at Ground Reconsidered; Joyce Chung, Curator at Asian Arts Initiative; and Ginger Rudolph, Independent Curator. The jury also recognized two other semifinalists: Sarah Peoples and the team of Bunjim Kim, Anna Lim, Nicholas Houser, and Danny Ortega.

About the Artist: Rachel Hsu is an interdisciplinary artist who works with visual art, language, and poetry. Her work has been exhibited nationally, including in Philadelphia and New York. Originally from Seattle, WA and now based in Philadelphia, she holds an MFA in sculpture from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a BFA in sculpture from Western Washington University. As an artist, Hsu is inspired by absence, relational ruptures, and slippages in translation. She engages the yearning that emerges from distance and displacement to make mental exertion and emotional endurance felt within one’s body. rachelhsustudio.com

The artist, Rachel Hsu

About The 2024 Oval: The Oval annually transforms eight acres at the head of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a vibrant public space, offering a variety of activities and programs for all ages. It showcases the Parkway’s potential as a centrally located, great urban park for Philadelphia. Full information on The 2024 Oval will be announced by the City of Philadelphia on June 24th.

About Maja and Maja Park: After sitting in storage for decades, Gerhard Marcks’ sculpture Maja (pronounced \MAI-uh\) was installed in 2021 in Maja Park, a newly-designed park at 22nd Street and the Parkway named after the sculpture. The development of this public space was a private/public partnership between AIR Communities and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, with support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The aPA originally purchased Maja in 1949, and has been working with its partners to create a welcoming space for the sculpture and the public. associationforpublicart.org/maja

About the Association for Public Art (aPA): The Association for Public Art (aPA) is a non-profit organization that commissions and preserves public art in Philadelphia, while advancing the pivotal role art can play in creating and enhancing public space and civic life. Neither a government agency nor a traditional museum, the aPA’s work takes place at the intersection of art, architecture, landscape, celebration, performance, and public history.

About the Parkway Council: The Parkway Council, a not-for-profit organization, works to accelerate the transformation of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway into a great urban park for all. parkwaycouncil.org

About Our Sponsors: The Park Towne Place Museum District Residences on the Parkway—listed on the National Registry of Historic Places—boasts an award-winning art program with rotating exhibits, artist talks, workshops, and an extensive permanent collection. Since 1982, Prudent Management Associates has served the needs of high-net-worth individuals, small- to medium-sized businesses, and all types of not-for-profit institutions. 

For more information, visit: associationforpublicart.org/artontheparkway.