New•Land•Marks Program Initiated in Philadelphia

Press Release

New•Land•Marks Program Initiated in Philadelphia

The Fairmount Park Art Association, with generous support from the William Penn Foundation, has initiated New•Land•Marks: public art and the meaning of place.  New•Land•Marks will engage artists and community organizations throughout Philadelphia to plan and create unique and enduring public art projects which will celebrate community identity, commemorate “untold” histories, inspire civic pride, respond to the local environment, and invigorate public spaces.

New•Land•Marks will combine the artists’ imagination, skill, and energy with the knowledge, experience, and commitment of communities to create public art projects that support both the artistic and community perspectives in neighborhood revitalization and development.  Projects will reflect the geographic variety, social richness, and cultural diversity of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods.  “Public art is part of our collective memory and our evolving culture,” explains Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Art Association.  “As our society and its modes of expression evolve, so should our definitions of public art.  New•Land•Marks will encourage a process that involves not only artists and community members, but also historians, educators, civic leaders, architects, designers, and construction teams.  What we are looking for is a shared commitment to extend Philadelphia’s rich tradition of public art.”

New•Land•Marks is a long-term project with short-term milestones.  During the fall of 1997, the program will be described in public presentations held at sites throughout Philadelphia.  Those who wish to participate in the program (community organizations, artists, or artist teams) will express interest by submitting a brief “Request to Participate.”  Approximately 15 diverse communities will be invited to work with 15 artists or artist teams to develop proposals.  Monthly workshops will be held for artists and community participants to enhance proposal development.  Upon completion, the proposals will be documented, exhibited, and publicized.  The Fairmount Park Art Association will commission three to five projects in 1999 as part of a long-range plan to develop as many proposals as possible.

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 programs and advocacy efforts which commission, interpret, and preserve art in Philadelphia.  The Art Association also serves as a resource for artists, architects, community groups, and civic leaders.

To receive New•Land•Marks information as it becomes available, please call Program Coordinators, Charles Moleski or Robin Redmond, at 215-546-7550.  “Request to Participate” guidelines will be available at public presentations scheduled to begin in the fall and held at sites throughout Philadelphia.