Art on the Parkway

August 1 - October 27, 2024
Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadephia, PA

The Selected Proposal: The Weight of Our Living by Rachel Hsu

The Weight of Our Living by Philadelphia-based artist Rachel Hsu is the selected proposal for Art on the Parkway, a juried competition co-organized by the Association for Public Art and the Parkway Council in parternship with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. This temporary installation, the artist’s first-ever public artwork, will be on view from August 1 to October 27, 2024, in Maja Park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway as a signature highlight of The 2024 Oval.



Rachel Hsu’s The Weight of Our Living
Thursday, August 1, 2024, 6-7:30 PM
Oar Pub, Park Towne Place Museum District Residences, South Tower (see map)

Free and open to all with registration. Join the Association for Public Art and the Parkway Council at the Oar Pub to celebrate the opening of The Weight of Our Living by Rachel Hsu (pictured) at nearby Maja Park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Enjoy complimentary light refreshments, hear brief remarks from the artist, and explore the new installation with us! Thank you to our sponsors, Park Towne Place and AIR Communities, for generously hosting and providing this reception.





Inspired by reflexology footpaths in Taiwan’s public parks, Rachel Hsu’s The Weight of Our Living 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. 

The Weight of Our Living rendering, courtesy of 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, PA, 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. Discover her work at

The Weight of Our Living would not have been made possible without the generous attention and deep care of friends. I and my work are possible only because they make it so. And thank you to the house sparrows in Maja Park whose birdsong, trilling from the bough of the trees, pulled me from, however slightly or briefly, the despondent well of murdered children or the family trying to survive the end of the world yet again or the gunfire down the street and everywhere else in America or the rising tide. Yes—yes, but also this they remind me. Thank you. 
I am especially indebted to the company, thoughts, and labor of:
rod jones ii 
Jenna Staffieri
The dedicated humans at the Association for Public Art and the Parkway Council
Forever in gratitude, thank you.




Open Call for Art on the Parkway, co-organized by the Association for Public Art (aPA) and the Parkway Council, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR), invites artists, designers, and other creatives to propose a temporary public art installation in Maja Park on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway as part of The Oval annual summer festival. Proposals are asked to explore the ways in which art can help create and define a sense of place.

Maja Park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, which is a grassy park with trees and the Philadelphia cityscape in the distance. People are sitting in the grass and listening to live music in the park on a sunny spring day.

Maja Park. Photo courtesy Parkway Council.

While the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is one of Philadelphia’s grandest civic spaces with a rich array of art and architecture—including many sculptures commissioned and maintained by the Association for Public Art—it has not reached its full potential as a public space. This year a coalition of organizations led by the Parkway Council along with city partners at Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability are advancing a conceptual master plan for the Parkway that envisions its future as a great urban park. 

This competition invites proposals that both celebrate the Parkway’s historic built environment and explore its future as a more inclusive and vibrant public space for all Philadelphians. Proposals must be durable and suitable for display in a public park open to the elements. The temporary installation will be on view from August 1st through October 27, 2024. 


The selected proposal recipient will receive an all-inclusive award of $15,000.


Renee Schacht
Co-founder and Executive Director, Tiny WPA

Julie Bush
Landscape Architect, Ground Reconsidered

Joyce Chung
Curator, Asian Arts Initiative

Ginger Rudolph

For more information, read Open Call for Art on the Parkway FAQs and explore the conceptual master plan for the Parkway’s future. If your question is still not answered, email

Co-organized by the Association for Public Art (aPA) and the Parkway Council, in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) and AIR Communities and Park Towne Place

About Association for Public Art
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. For more information, visit

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. For more information, visit


Proposal 1: The Weight of Our Living

by Rachel Hsu

Through the healing practice of reflexology, The Weight of Our Living connects emotional endurance to tactile experience by calling on visitors to remove their shoes and traverse across an undulating surface of river stones.

Rachel Hsu is an interdisciplinary artist who works with visual art, language, and poetry. 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. Her work has been exhibited nationally including Philadelphia and New York, and her writing has been published in Honey Literary. She holds an MFA in sculpture from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a BFA in sculpture from Western Washington University. Originally from Seattle, WA, she is currently based in Philadelphia, PA.




Proposal 2: Prismatic Parkway

by Bumjin Kim, Anna Lim, Nicholas Houser, and Daniel Ortega

Prismatic Parkway transforms Maja Park into a vibrant, interactive space that celebrates Philadelphia’s cultural and artistic spirit through colorful installations and modular design, fostering community engagement and connections with nature.

Bumjin Kim is an educator, artist, and architect based in Philadelphia, who strongly believes that design can improve our society and culture. He is currently an assistant teaching professor in the Architecture program at Drexel University. He also runs a design lab called D.Fluence. Anna Lim is a licensed architect currently in Los Angeles. Dedicated to equitable design practices, she is passionate about engaging with diverse users across multiple scales. By day, she is a designer at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill focused on mixed-use developments and educational buildings. Nicholas Houser is a Philadelphia-based designer and educator dedicated to sustainable design and efficient prefab construction. He works at IK Studio in Los Angeles and teaches part-time at the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. Danny Ortega is an architectural designer in Los Angeles with a Masters in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. He has worked at renowned firms like Morphosis, SOM, and Tighe Architecture, and his work has been featured in Metropolis Magazine, GA Document and Milan Design Week.




Proposal 3: City as Stage 

by Sarah Peoples

This Art installation will welcome visitors of all ages to Maja Park with inviting, colorful, prop-like structures to encourage thought-provoking ideas of improvisation and ritualized performance, using the theatricality of our everyday urban experiences to create connections that will strengthen our community.

Sculptor Sarah Peoples creates lasting impact in the world with thought-provoking Art and community involvement. Most recently, she was included in Slow-Burning Rapture an exhibition at the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education featuring six contemporary artists making sense of our ecological past, present and future. As Artist in Residence at Glen Foerd from June 2022 to September 2023, she created three impactful large-scale public artworks addressing environmental justice, collective consciousness, national identity, and our human connection to nature. She was recently featured in an online exhibition “The Meaning of Everything” by the Dina Wind Foundation. Peoples has presented various commissioned and non-commissioned public art works, including “Between Wind and Water,” at The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum in Maryland, “Plastic Waterfall,” an 18-foot site-specific-sculpture at the Cira Centre, and “Deconstructed Landscapes”, the DaVinci Art Alliance’s Everyday Future Fest in 2022.


The application period has now closed. 




  • Applications will be accepted from individuals, collectives, or teams including artists and other creatives twenty-one years and older.
  • Entrants who live or work in the Philadelphia metro area are eligible to apply.
  • Students are not eligible to apply.
  • While no specific professional credential is required, applicants must demonstrate their qualifications and ability to execute a public project of this scale in an outdoor environment.


The selected proposal recipient will receive an all-inclusive award of $15,000 to realize the proposed project. All related project expenses are to be part of this award, including but not limited to artist/design/professional fees, travel/meetings, materials and supplies, labor, equipment, fabrication, maintenance, delivery to and from the site, installation, and deinstallation. Housing and studio space are not provided as part of the project award.

PLEASE NOTE: The project award may be considered taxable income based on the recipient’s tax status. It is up to applicants to consider tax implications and consult with their tax advisors. General insurance for permitting and installation will be arranged by the aPA and Parkway Council. Fine art insurance for the artwork will not be provided.


Open Call for Art on the Parkway is a competitive, two-part selection process.  A jury of artists, designers, and art professionals will select three finalist proposals from entrants for further development and public feedback. A single project will then be selected to be realized at Maja Park. 

Selection Criteria

  1.  Artistic Excellence–design ability and skill, integrity and originality of ideas
  2.  Relationship of proposal to site at the appropriate scale and context
  3.  Ability to realize projects of similar scope & technical feasibility of proposal
  4.  Completeness of application


Proposals must include the following components, and must be formatted as instructed below and submitted via Jotform no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 3, 2024. The application links can be accessed here:


Individual Application

Team Application


Applicants will be asked to share their contact information and a project title. If you are applying as a team, please include the names and emails for each team member and identify one team member as the Lead Contact.

Applicants must submit a project proposal of up to 300 words that clearly describes the project, materials, and approximate dimensions. The proposal should also explain how the work explores a sense of place, and its relationship to the site on the Parkway. Applicants must also submit between one (1) and three (3) conceptual project proposal design sketches as digital images. Each image should be its own PDF (72 dpi and 1200 pixels) and then combined as a single PDF document and submitted.Proposals must demonstrate feasibility and include a breakdown of project expenses within the $15,000 project budget.

The résumé /CV should include information about your education; professional experience; exhibition history (if applicable); awards, grants, and residencies; experience in realizing artwork in the public realm; and other relevant information. Successful applicants should be able to demonstrate their ability to realize their project proposal based on prior experiences.Please also provide the names, email addresses, and telephone numbers of three people who are familiar with your work. If you are applying as a team, a résumé/CV and references must be submitted for each applicant.

Submit up to six (6) digital images of recent work saved as a PDF (72 dpi and 1200 pixels). Each image should be its own PDF and then combined as a single PDF document and submitted. These images are in addition to the images submitted as part of the project proposal. Recent works may be realized or proposed projects in any medium. Include descriptive text for each image on the PDF, including, title, date, dimensions, medium, and location.


11:59 p.m. EDT on Friday, May 3, 2024


Three finalists will be invited in early June to discuss the viability of their proposals with aPA and the Parkway Council, and may be asked to prepare additional information, visuals, and budget revisions for final review by the jury and selection team. Finalists will receive an honorarium of $250 each. Finalist proposals will also be presented online at the Association for Public Art’s website for public commentary. Finalists may be asked to meet with the jury and selection team to discuss their proposals in more detail the first week of June. The project commission is anticipated to be awarded in mid-June. The selected finalist will have roughly six weeks to fabricate or construct the installation. The completed project is scheduled to open to the public on approximately August 1, 2024. The selected finalist will be required to sign an agreement to the terms of the project as outlined before any work on the site can commence. A payment of $10,000 will be made upon execution of the agreement; the remaining $5,000 upon completion and public opening of the project.

Maja Park

Applicants are strongly encouraged to develop proposals in response to the project location and take into consideration the site’s urban outdoor environment, as outlined in the site plan. Maja Park includes an existing sculpture (Maja by Gerhard Marcks) as well as a pergola and seating structure.  

The Gerhard Marcks Maja sculpture – figurative bronze nude female with arms overhead – in the new Maja Park on the Parkway on a sunny day. The sculpture stands tall on a gray granite base, surrounded by green Liriope plants.

Maja by Gerhard Marcks (1942), the centerpiece of Maja Park at 22nd Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Philadelphia, PA). Photo: Meredith Edlow for aPA.

Pre-application visits to the Parkway and Maja Park are also recommended to learn more about its spaces, public art, and future plans. Please be aware that the selected finalist’s proposal and placement on the site are subject to final approval by the aPA, Parkway Council, and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation staff, and must meet all safety and technical requirements for withstanding the effects of weather and public use. 

Visit the site and come to an information session with aPA and the Parkway Council on April 9, 2024 from 5:30pm-6:30pm at Maja Park. For more information on the information session and to register, click here

Please review the Maja Park Site Plan before submitting your application.

Learn more about the sculpture Maja.


The Parkway’s Future

Looking down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards the Philadelphia cityscape from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on a summer day.

Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability, and the Parkway Council are working to create a multi-phase plan to transform the Parkway into Philadelphia’s greatest public space. A planning team led by Design Workshop was selected in 2021, through a public request for proposal (RFP) for ideas from designers and planners from around the world.

This project seeks to unlock the Parkway’s potential as a great urban park in the center of one of America’s greatest cities.

To learn more about this Parkway Council project visit

Reimagine Benjamin Franklin Parkway strategy plan. Design Workshop.

Open Call for Art on the Parkway: Frequently Asked Questions

This page will continue to be updated throughout the duration of the call for proposals. Please check back periodically for updated information.


Does my proposal need to serve any functional purpose?

Any type of temporary installation may be proposed. Proposals may be purely formal explorations of space or materials or exhibit some functional use (such as seating or shade). 

How closely must my proposal respond to the site or the Parkway?

Successful proposals will engage both Maja Park and the Parkway, however applicants are invited to consider such engagement widely and creatively. Proposals shall be appropriate in scale, material, and content for the site.

Are there other questions or themes my proposal should address?

Successful proposals will look to explore how public art can help create and define a sense of place. No other specific considerations must be met, and we look forward to inventive and creative responses to this prompt.

Will maintenance be provided?

The award recipient is responsible for any ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the artwork while it is installed at the site.

Will the installation be outdoors in all weather? 

The installation must be able to withstand being outside through the summer and early fall (three months). Proposals must be able to withstand rain, wind, direct sun, varying temperatures and humidity, and other environmental conditions.

Are there material restrictions for the installation?

Other than functionality, durability, budgeting, and safety, there are no material restrictions. However, the project must be self-contained and not require constant monitoring nor electrical power. 

How safe must the installation be?

Installations must be able to withstand the wear and tear of weather exposure and heavy public interaction. The Project Coordinators will work closely with the winning applicant to make any necessary structural modifications, suggestions, or additions.

For safety reasons, we will not select any proposal that enables the public to climb to unsafe heights, access hidden or enclosed spaces, touch materials that could be unsafe in direct sunlight, or encounter sharp or otherwise hazardous edges or protrusions. The selection team will require design modifications to any questionable design feature that poses a potential hazard to the general public.

Will I be able to dig into the ground, create a foundation, or otherwise secure my installation?

Installations are temporary and no permanent foundation or lasting changes to the park can be made.

Can I attach my installation or artwork to the trees or light posts or use the trees or lightposts for rigging?

It is not permitted for the work to attach to or touch trees or light posts in any manner.

Can my proposal be sited on any of the sidewalks or the central plaza?

No, proposals may only be sited on the lawns noted on the Maja Park site plan. Proposals may not block or otherwise impede any of the walkways or paved areas.

I would like to engage the Maja sculpture directly, is that permitted?

It is not permitted for the work to attach to or touch the Maja sculpture in any manner. However, proposals may engage with the sculpture thematically or through site placement.

Will there be lighting at night?

There will not be any dedicated lighting for the project. Ambient park and plaza lighting exists.

Will there be any security?

There will not be any ongoing security or monitoring of the site or installation during the period it is on view.



Can teams apply?

Yes, teams may apply. Please note that regardless of the number of team members, there is only a single project award of $15,000.

Are there any age limitations for applicants?

Applicants must be at least 21 years of age or older in order to apply.

I consider myself creative, but do not have an educational or professional background in a creative field. Am I eligible?

Yes, there are no specific requirements for educational or professional credentialization. 

Can non-Philadelphia residents apply? Can non-US citizens apply?

The competition is open to entrants who live or work in the Philadelphia area. To receive the project commission and award, an applicant must have a US tax ID number or Social Security number. Award recipients will be responsible for their project related tax obligations.

I live in Philadelphia, but my artistic partner lives outside the region, are we eligible to apply?

Yes, if you are applying as a team, as long as one team member lives or works in the Philadelphia region, you are eligible. 

Are travel funds provided to team members or consultants from outside of the Philadelphia area? Or, are shipping costs paid for?

There are no funds available for travel or accommodations or for shipping or delivery. Any travel or transportation needs should be included in your $15,000 project budget. 

Can I submit more than one proposal?

No. Individuals may only submit one proposal, either alone or as part of a team.


Funding and Production

Is there additional funding?

Neither the aPA nor the Parkway Council provides additional funding.

I have other funding sources, can I use these to support my project?

No. The project must be realized and installed within the $15,000 project budget.

Must I account for in-kind support in my budget? For example, access to a free source of materials or access to fabrication facilities through my workplace?

You are free to use in-kind support and this need not be accounted for within the $15,000 project budget. Please add a note to your budget explaining any in-kind support.

How will payment be submitted to the finalist?

A payment of $10,000 will be made upon execution of the agreement; the remaining $5,000 upon completion and public opening of the project.

Do I need insurance?

General insurance for permitting and installation will be arranged by the aPA and Parkway Council. Fine art insurance for the artwork will not be provided.

How many hours should the commissioned project take to install?

It entirely depends on the scope of your project and its complexity.

How long can I work on-site to create the installation? 

Projects may be prefabricated off site or constructed on site. The installation schedule must be mutually agreed upon by all parties but must occur during normal park hours of operation. 

How many people can I have working on the site?

As many as are reasonable and appropriate given the conditions of the site, or as otherwise approved by the Project Coordinators.

May I propose an installation created through public participation?

Yes, you may engage the public in participatory design. However, any proposal will be reviewed to ensure public safety and all participants must be over 21.

Is there parking near the site?

There is timed street parking on Park Towne Place road located between 24th and 22nd Streets bordering Maja Park and Park Towne Place Apartments. There is also metered parking on the Parkway inbound, outer lane in front of Maja Park.

Can I have materials delivered to the site?

Yes, however deliveries to the site will need to be coordinated with the Project Coordinators, and the artist must be present onsite to accept deliveries.

Can I alter my proposal once commissioned to realize the project ?

The recipient of the commission will work closely with the Program Coordinators to understand the demands of the commissioned proposal and discuss possible issues with construction, materials, schedules, and siting that may affect the final design.

How long will the project be on view?

The installation will be on view for roughly three months. We encourage the commissioned individual or team to find opportunities for their project to find new homes or to be repurposed, or for project materials to be recycled or reused.

Who owns the rights to the commissioned design?

All proposals submitted, whether from individuals or groups, retain the copyright of their designs. aPA, Parkway Council, and PPR reserve the right to reproduce the finalist’s images of the design and installation for their own uses.

Will the project receive any publicity?

Yes, the aPA, Parkway Council, and PPR will publicize the installation and seek media coverage.

Will any public programming take place during the time the project is on view?

We anticipate hosting an opening event and artist’s talk with the commissioned artist and additional programming specific to the project may be offered.