During October and November, the Fairmount Park Art Association will hold a series of twenty-one public presentations and discussions about the potential of public art and how the New•Land•Marks program can be incorporated into ongoing community revitalization efforts. Illustrated with slides, these presentations will be held at neighborhood locations throughout Philadelphia and will be co-sponsored by local cultural and community service organizations. Presentations will be held from October 6 through November 19 (see enclosed schedule). To receive information and program guidelines or to confirm a public presentation date or location, call the New•Land•Marks Hotline (215) 546-1087.
New•Land•Marks: public art, community, and the meaning of place will engage artists and community organizations throughout Philadelphia to plan and create enduring public art projects that will serve as legacies for future generations. “The Fairmount Park Art Association has a long and significant history of working with artists and civic-minded organizations. Over the years, the success of our projects has been stimulated by the cooperative working relationships that we have been privileged to experience,” noted President Charles E. Mather III.
Those who wish to participate in the program (community organizations, artists, or creative teams) will express interest by submitting a brief “Request to Participate” due on December 19, 1997. Approximately fifteen communities will be invited to work with fifteen artists or creative teams to develop proposals. Upon completion, the proposals will be documented, exhibited, and publicized. In 1999, the Fairmount Park Art Association will begin by commissioning three to five projects as part of a long-range plan to commission as many proposals as possible.
New•Land•Marks projects will celebrate community identity, commemorate “untold” histories, inspire civic pride, respond to the local environment, and invigorate public spaces. Each project will be the outcome of a partnership, combining the artists’ imagination, skill, and energy with the knowledge, experience, and commitment of communities. This program supports the idea that artists are pioneers of our cultural territory; with community insight and support, they can give shape to our dreams.
Projects will reflect the geographic variety, social richness, and cultural diversity of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. For the purposes of this program, however, the definition of community is not restricted to geographic areas, but may also include groups having a shared history, identity, or interest. New•Land•Marks will encourage a public art process that involves not only artists and community members, but also creative people in other fields, such as historians, educators, architects, designers, folklorists, writers, and anthropologists.
“Public art is part of our public history, part of our evolving culture, and part of our collective memory,” explains Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Art Association. “Public art is a reflection of how we see the world—the artist’s response to our time and place combined with our own sense of who we are. Public art can express community values, transform a landscape, heighten our awareness, or question our assumptions. Placed in public sites, this art is for everyone, a form of collective, community expression.”
Chartered in 1872, the Fairmount Park Art Association is the nation’s first private non-profit organization integrating public art and urban planning. The Art Association works to promote the appreciation of public art through advocacy efforts and programs that commission, interpret, and preserve art in Philadelphia.
New•Land•Marks is made possible through the generous support from the William Penn Foundation. For more information about New•Land•Marks please call Program Coordinators Charles Moleski or Robin Redmond at (215) 546-7550. To receive program information and guidelines or to confirm a public presentation date or location, call the New•Land•Marks Hotline (215) 546-1087.