Nancy Baker Cahill’s “Liberty Bell”

Press Release

Nancy Baker Cahill’s “Liberty Bell”

On view in Philadelphia on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Host Partner: Association for Public Art (aPA)

TO EXPERIENCE THE ARTWORK: Download the FREE 4th Wall app from the App Store or Google Play, using Wifi. The app works on iPhones 6s and above (iOS11 and up), any iPad with AR capability, and Androids with AR Core. Once downloaded, be sure to “Allow Access” to photos, microphone, camera and location. Be sure device sound is on. The 4th Wallapp does not collect any user data.
DIRECTIONS TO VIEW ARTWORK: From the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art and on Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Best vantage points are from the bottom of the steps, and the Oval Park across MLK Drive. Drawing will appear overhead. This viewing location is wheelchair accessible.
**Duration of the work is approximately 1 minute 30 seconds, and it is recommended that viewers experience the full animation with sound.**
When viewing the work please adhere to all social distancing guidelines as instructed by the CDC.

Artist Nancy Baker Cahill will unveil “Liberty Bell, a new public art project utilizing augmented reality, presented simultaneously in six cities in the United States: Philadelphia, PA, Boston, MA, Washington, DC, Charleston, SC, Selma, AL, and Rockaway, NY. Liberty Bell will be on view from July 4th 2020.  Art Production Fund is pleased to partner with the Association for Public Art (aPA) for the Philadelphia iteration of the Liberty Bell project.

Commissioned by Art Production Fund, in partnership with 7G Foundation and the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, a project of the Fund for the City of New York, Liberty Bell is an animated, monumental and richly sonorous augmented reality (AR) drawing in 360 degrees. The public artwork will be geolocated at a series of sites and experienced on smartphones through Baker Cahill’s free 4th Wall app. This project, which is two years in the making, lives at the vibrant intersection of public art, social consciousness and tech.

In this polarized and tumultuous election year many concerns persist around the founding principles of American freedom and democracy. Inequality, racism, injustice, and the ability to vote are chief among them. Inspired by the original cracked Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, the drawing hovers beyond viewers, swaying with the rich and layered sound of bells tolling. The Liberty Bell soundscape morphs from the rhythmic lulling of a tolling bell, into a harmonious and dissonant sequence of ringing as it becomes increasingly unpredictable and arrhythmic. Ranging from analog to synthetic, the sounds were compiled from a diverse array of historical moments and locations. The richly textured brushstrokes and bell sounds resemble loosely knitted threads that unravel and come together in an uncomfortable, but cohesive moment. They reflect the evolution and transformation of liberty over time into the complex reality we face today. Baker Cahill chose Independence Day as a launch date to advocate for justice, civil rights and freedom in the U.S..

AR is impermanent, ephemeral, invisible to the naked eye and leaves no environmental trace. It is accessible to a broad audience through the ubiquitous use of smartphones and tablets. Community programming will be organized online and in person when possible. Programming will include topical conversations by cultural leaders and activists from all 6 cities as they relate to current events. Providing a platform for conversation and access to the artwork is a crucial component of this project.

“From its origins in American history, “liberty” was only available to a certain demographic and came at great expense to others. You can’t have a conversation about freedom and not talk about the history of slavery and inequity in the United States. A bell can be a warning or a celebration; something spiritual or a wordless means of communication. In an age of pandemic, surveillance, injustice and disinformation, who is actually free? That’s the conversation we need to have.” – Nancy Baker Cahill, Artist

“We are thrilled to present Liberty Bell in six different US cities this summer. While adhering to social distancing guidelines, it feels crucial to bring this important artwork safely to the public. Through a visual and sonic AR experience, Baker Cahill gives viewers the opportunity to reflect upon their personal experiences of liberty, freedom, injustice and inequality. We are honored to present this poignant work during such a remarkable time.” – Casey Fremont, Executive Director, Art Production Fund.

The historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia seeded the inspiration for the Liberty Bell project. Most historians believe the Liberty Bell was one of many bells that rang on July 8, 1776, a few days following the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In the 1830s, the bell became a symbol for abolitionist societies who called it the “Liberty Bell”, the name we know it by today. Liberty is inextricably linked to equality, so as a metaphor, the cracked bell mirrors the brokenness of many Americans’ experiences of liberty. The Liberty Bell AR drawing floats above the historic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art accessible to a diverse public audience, and invites viewers the opportunity to consider their own experiences of liberty, freedom and injustice and inequality.

“Hosting Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, at this profound historic moment when centuries of racial injustice have come to a head, we are moved and inspired by the artist’s expression of the bell as both ‘a warning and a celebration.’ Liberty Bell begins as an integrated whole and becomes dissonant and visually fragmented – unraveling just as the unfulfilled promise of freedom. It’s not a 4th of July spectacle; it’s a meditative reflection of what many are feeling right now.” – Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Association for Public Art (aPA)

Liberty Bell weaves a common thread between all six cities underscoring our interconnectedness and shared cultural inheritance. These historically significant and charged locations comprise an unprecedented activation spanning the Eastern seaboard of the United States. In addition to aPA in Philadelphia, Art Production Fund is pleased to present alongside the following local partners:

LOCAL PARTNERS: Boston, MA: Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Cyber Arts, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Boston Harbor Now; Charleston, SC: Center for Heir’s Property Preservation; Philadelphia, PA: Association for Public Art (aPA); Rockaway, NY: 7G Foundation, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, The Rockaway Hotel, National Parks Service, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, New York State Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, Rockaway Artists Alliance; Washington, DC: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
NANCY BAKER CAHILL: Nancy Baker Cahill is a multidisciplinary artist and the Founder and Creative Director of 4th Wall, a free Augmented Reality (AR) public art platform. Through 4th Wall, she initiated Coordinates, an ongoing series of curated & site-specific AR public art exhibitions, including Defining Line in Los Angeles and Battlegrounds in New Orleans. She received an “Impact Maker to Watch” award at LA City Hall and was named by the LA Times as one of the 2019 Faces of the Year, ARTS. She is one of ten artist scholars in the Berggruen Institute’s inaugural 2020 Transformations of the Human Fellowship.
ART PRODUCTION FUND is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to commissioning and producing ambitious public art projects, reaching new audiences and expanding awareness through contemporary art. Past projects include: Elmgreen & Dragset,“Prada Marfa,” Valentine, TX, Ugo Rondinone, “Seven Magic Mountains,” Las Vegas, Jeff Koons, “Seated Ballerina,” Rockefeller Plaza, NYC, Zoe Buckman, “CHAMP,” LA; Raul de Nieves “When I Look In To Your Eyes I See the Sun,” Miami; Lucy Sparrow “Lucy’s Delicatessen on 6th,” Rockefeller Center, NYC.  For more information, please visit / @artproductionfund
7|G FOUNDATION champions organizations and individuals that challenge inequality in human rights, education, art and culture. By partnering with organizations, artists and community facilitators we seek to build strong community bonds that elevate local culture, while supporting cultural change founded upon our core values of social impact and sustainability.
THE JAMAICA BAY-ROCKAWAY PARKS CONSERVANCY (JBRPC) is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula for local residents and visitors alike. With its partners at the National Park Service, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, JBRPC works to expand public access; increase recreational and educational opportunities; foster citizen stewardship and volunteerism; preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat; enhance cultural resources; and ensure the long-term sustainability of the parklands. JBRPC is a project of the Fund for the City of New York, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, please visit / @jbrpc
The ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ART (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, interprets, and promotes public art in Philadelphia. The aPA is the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a “Museum Without Walls” that informs, engages, and inspires. Established in 1872. aPA integrates public art and urban design through exemplary programs and advocacy efforts that connect people with public art. For more information, visit / @assocpublicart
Special thanks to Anna Luisa Petrisko for her help with sound design, and to the team at Drive Studios.


For more information and details on public programs please visit

#LibertyBellAR | @ArtProductionFun | @NancyBakerCahill | @assocPublicArt