PHILADELPHIA (June 23, 2014) – The Oval, Philadelphia’s new “Park on the Parkway” will return to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for its second summer of outdoor fun featuring free programming, events, and activities for all ages from July 16 through August 17. An evening celebration with Mayor Michael A. Nutter on Wednesday, July 16, will mark the official kick-off of the season. Visitors will experience another world at The Oval with the unveiling of a new creative theme and artwork, Magic Carpet by artist Candy Coated (formerly Candy Depew), commissioned by the Association for Public Art.
A partnership between Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy, The Oval was created in 2013 in effort to engage the 70,000+ Philadelphians that live within a ten-minute walk of Eakins Oval, providing an opportunity to eat, play and relax in the eight-acre open air park. By transforming the surface parking lot into a hip, urban oasis, The Oval served as a place to connect and unify the attractions and surrounding neighborhoods, thus drawing in more than 27,000 visitors in six weeks.
“As one of the first exciting outcomes of our “More Park Less Way” plan for the Parkway, The Oval has become a wonderful new asset for our park system and those neighborhoods that are adjacent to the site,” said Deputy Mayor/Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis.
“Last year’s inaugural season of The Oval exceeded our wildest expectations, truly becoming a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather and enjoy a unique park experience,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. “We’re thrilled to announce its return this year, along with a new theme and programing that will further activate this important park space.”
Commissioned by the Association for Public Art, artist Candy Coated will transform the space into a magical environment of color, pattern, illusion and movement with Magic Carpet. The Philadelphia-based multimedia artist will bring together installation art and exuberant designs, as well as other whimsical and unique attractions including 3-D illusion art and brilliantly colored sandboxes. The site will be arranged into five areas, each with a different attraction, experience and function, unified by the overall Magic Carpet theme.
“We welcome the opportunity to incorporate Magic Carpet at The Oval this year, continuing the longstanding tradition of public art on the Parkway,” said Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director of the Association for Public Art.
The pilot season of The Oval in 2013 was supported by a one-time grant from the William Penn Foundation. This year, the Fairmount Park Conservancy has secured several corporate sponsors which are helping to bring The Oval to life for its full second season. PNC is the lead sponsor for The Oval. BMW of the Main Line, Mini of the Main Line, Godshall’s Quality Meats, Ride the Ducks, The Granary and Greater Media are also sponsors.
“The Oval is quickly transforming into a prized communal space, offering people opportunities to volunteer, have fun, learn, and discover new things each day,” said Jean Canfield, director of client and community relations for Philadelphia-Southern New Jersey, PNC. “We are proud to be a lead sponsor supporting the Oval and look forward to celebrating the summer season with our neighbors and showcasing the city at its best.”
The open-to-the-public unveiling of Magic Carpet and official kick-off of the season to experience another world at The Oval will take place on Wednesday, July 16 with Mayor Michael A. Nutter. The Oval will be activated with programming and activities for 10 hours each day, Wednesday through Sunday, July 16 through August 17.
With live musical performances, interactive arts and culture activities, fitness and wellness activities, movie nights, beer gardens, miniature golf, food trucks and more, The Oval will keep guests coming back throughout the summer.
For more information about The Oval, and for a calendar of events and happenings, visit www.theovalphl.org. Join the conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheOvalPHL or follow on Twitter and Instagram @TheOvalPHL #TheOvalPHL.
About Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
Philadelphia Parks & Recreation advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of public land and waterways as well as through safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR helps Philadelphia’s children and other residents grow by connecting them to the natural world, to each other, and to fun, physical and social opportunities. For more information, find Philadelphia Parks & Recreation online at www.phila.gov/parksandrecreation and follow @philaparkandrec on social media:
About The Fairmount Park Conservancy
The Fairmount Park Conservancy exists to champion the Fairmount Park system. Its mission is to work as a collaborative partner to lead and support efforts which preserve and improve Fairmount Park to enhance the quality of life and stimulate the economic development of the Greater Philadelphia Region. The Fairmount Park Conservancy fulfills its mission by leading signature capital projects and innovative programs throughout Fairmount Park; by developing and leveraging resources for the park; and by promoting the parks’ unique assets and contributions. The Fairmount Park system covers more than 10,200 acres and is considered one of the largest urban park systems in the world. It includes a network of more than 100 neighborhood parks and contains some of the region’s most famous treasures and attractions.
About Candy Coated
Based in Philadelphia, Candy Coated (formerly Candy Depew) is a multimedia artist who works internationally. An enthusiast of the decorative arts, her work brings together installation art, popular culture, fantasy, fashion, printmaking and a passion for vivid color. Last year, she created Candy Coated Wonderland, an installation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art that reinterpreted children’s fancy dress costumes from the Museum’s collection. Candy established her “Studio School” of decorative art & design in Philadelphia. She has also worked as Master Printer at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. A recipient of the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Candy completed her MFA at Tyler School of Art at Temple University and worked with The London Consortium at the Tate Modern, London.
About the Association for Public Art
The Association for Public Art (aPA, formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia. Since its founding in 1872 as the nation’s first private nonprofit organization dedicated to public art, the aPA has worked with artists, communities, and civic leaders to make encounters with art a part of everyday life, creating a Museum Without Walls™ that is free and accessible to residents and visitors. Working closely with city agencies, the aPA remains today a central resource and contributor to Philadelphia’s enduring reputation as an important place to view and experience the evolution of public art. Through aPA’s free, interactive public programs, website and publications, Philadelphians and visitors are invited to experience civic spaces enlivened by artists and art; to discover the city’s vast collection of public art; and to connect to a shared cultural legacy. For more information, visit associationforpublicart.org and follow @assocpublicart on Twitter and Instagram or like aPA on Facebook.com/assocforpublicart.
Mark McDonald, Press Secretary
215-686-6210 (o), 267-303-9248 (m)
Laura Krebs, Cashman & Associates
215.627.1060 (o), 610.715.1096 (m)
Alain Joinville, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation
215‐683‐3634 (o), 267‐886‐3032 (m)