Public Art Agencies and Organizations in Philadelphia

A list of Philadelphia's diverse public art agencies and organizations

Public art in Philadelphia is initiated by many different entities, including the Association for Public Art, the City of Philadelphia, the Mural Arts Program, the Redevelopment Authority, state and federal agencies, universities, museums, developers, corporations, civic groups, private donors, and artists.

 

Government Public Art Agencies

The City of Philadelphia Public Art Office and Percent for Art Program

The City of Philadelphia Public Art Office is responsible for the municipal public art collection in its entirety and is the centralized agency for all City public-art-related responsibilities, including the selection, purchasing, commissioning, conservation, maintenance, and day-to-day management of the City’s public art collection. The office administers the municipal Percent for Art Program, which was established in 1959 when City Council passed an ordinance—the first of its kind in the nation—mandating that a percentage of construction costs for municipal projects be set aside for fine arts. Through the Conservation and Collection Management Program, the office also oversees the preservation and maintenance of the City’s art collection. For more information about work donated to or commissioned by the City, or placed on City property, contact:

Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
Public Art Program
116 City Hall
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.686.4596
www.creativephl.org

 

The City of Philadelphia Art Commission

The Philadelphia Art Commission is appointed by the Mayor and composed of art and design professionals and the Commissioner of Public Property. It serves as an approval body for the design and location of public buildings, works of art acquired by the City, and encroachments into or over the public right-of-way. The Commission also reviews conservation and relocation plans for City-owned sculptures and public artworks. For information about the Art Commission, contact:

Philadelphia Art Commission
1515 Arch Street, 12th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215.683.2095
www.phila.gov/artcommission

 

The Philadelphia International Airport Exhibitions Program

The Exhibitions Program organizes and presents rotating exhibitions throughout the Philadelphia International Airport. It seeks to humanize the airport environment; provide visibility for Philadelphia’s unique cultural life; and to enhance and enrich the experience of the traveling public. The Exhibitions Program provides millions of visitors from a global community access to a wide variety of art forms including fine arts, crafts, design, and photography by artists from the Philadelphia area. For more information about the Airport Exhibitions Program, contact:

Exhibitions Program
Philadelphia International Airport
Terminal E
Philadelphia, PA 19153
www.phl.org/at-phl/art-exhibitions

 

Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority Fine Arts Program

*NOTE: The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority has merged with PHDC. Visit phdcphila.org for more information.

In 1959, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) adopted the first “One Percent for Fine Arts” program in the United States, thus making the commissioning of new works of public art integral to the urban renewal process. For each project built on land acquired from and assembled by the PRA, the selected developer must budget no less than one percent of the total building construction cost toward commissioning original, site-specific works of public art. For information about works commissioned through the PRA’s Fine Arts Program, contact:

PHDC
1234 Market Street, 17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-448-3000
www.phdcphila.org

 

SEPTA’s Art in Transit Program

SEPTA’s Art in Transit Program is designed to incorporate art elements into renovation and construction projects for selected stations and public transportation facilities.  The program allocates up to one percent of the construction budget of capitally funded projects for the design, fabrication, and installation of permanent public art. The purpose of the Art in Transit Program is to create a more welcoming and dynamic transit environment for regular and new riders and to foster a sense of pride within the surrounding community. For information about works commissioned through SEPTA’s Art in Transit Program, contact:

SEPTA Art in Transit Program
1234 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-580-3633
www.septa.org/art-in-transit

 

General Services Administration, Art in Architecture Program

The federal Art in Architecture Program was established in 1963 in response to the recommendations of President Kennedy’s Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space. Through the program, a maximum of 2 percent of the estimated cost of constructing or purchasing federal buildings or of completing major repairs and alterations of existing buildings is allocated for public art. For information about works commissioned on federal government property since 1963, contact:

Fine Arts Officer, GSA
20 N. 8th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.446.4623
www.gsa.gov/artinarchitecture

 


 

Nonprofit Organizations

Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association)

Founded in 1872, the Association for Public Art is the nation’s first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. The Association commissions, preserves, promotes and interprets public art in Philadelphia.

Association for Public Art
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19102-3627
215.546.7550
www.associationforpublicart.org

For research about works commissioned by the Art Association before 1976, contact:

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Manuscript Collection (Fairmount Park Art Association Archives)
1300 Locust Street, Library
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.732.6200
www.hsp.org

 

Mural Arts Philadelphia

Established in 1984, Mural Arts Philadelphia has created an outdoor array of more than 3,000 painted walls for the enjoyment and inspiration of Philadelphia residents and visitors. In addition to mural painting, the program offers art education and youth development programs at recreation centers and other community sites throughout the city. For information about the city’s painted murals, contact:

Mural Arts Philadelphia
Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center
Thomas-Eakins House
1727-29 Mount Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215.685.0750
www.muralarts.org

 

Monument Lab

Founded in 2012 by Paul Farber and Ken Lum, Monument Lab is an independent public art and history studio based in Philadelphia that cultivates and facilitates critical conversations around the past, present, and future of monuments. The organization’s work includes citywide art exhibitions, site-specific commissions, participatory research initiatives, a national fellows program, a web bulletin and podcast, and a workshop series for municipal and cultural officers.

Monument Lab
Philadelphia, PA
info@monumentlab.com
www.monumentlab.com

 

Waterfront Arts Program of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC)

Launched in 2019, DRWC’s Waterfront Arts Program aims to activate Philadelphia’s Delaware River Waterfront with high-quality, innovative public and performance art that embraces non-traditional venues, establishing the waterfront as a cultural destination for the City of Philadelphia. Its debut installation was Ghost Ship in fall 2019, a large-scale light and water hologram on the river by European-based Biangle Studio.

Waterfront Arts Program of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation (DRWC)
21 N Columbus Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.922.2386
www.delawareriverwaterfront.com/planning/planning/waterfront-arts-program

 

Cosacosa art at large, Inc.

Cosacosa art at large, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that creates new art specific to Philadelphia neighborhoods and public spaces. Programs seek to deliver interactive “dialogues through art” and use a range of visual and performing arts to engage children and adults from diverse backgrounds to examine community-based issues. For information on Cosacosa’s programs and commissions, contact:

Cosacosa art at large, Inc.
4427 Main Street
Philadelphia, PA 19127
215.385.2554
info@cosacosa.org
www.cosacosa.org

 


 

Public Art Around the City

The Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden is a one-acre sculpture garden behind the Philadelphia Museum of Art, dedicated to the Museum’s late director Anne d’Harnoncourt (1943–2008). Artworks in the Garden include sculptures by Claes Oldenburg, Gordon Gund, Sol LeWitt, Scott Burton, Thomas Schütte, and Ellsworth Kelly, as well as a pair of monumental works by Ursula von Rydingsvard on view through April 2019.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art
2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
215.763.8100 
www.philamuseum.org/sculpturegarden

 

University of Pennsylvania Art Collection

The Penn Art Collection contains more than 8,000 artworks, including paintings, sculptures, photography, works on paper, and decorative arts. Many are on view in more than 100 locations on Penn’s campus in West Philadelphia, including classrooms, libraries, offices, and along Locust Walk. Recent outdoor sculpture additions include Louise Nevelson’s Atmosphere and Environment XII and Jacob Epstein’s Social Consciousness, on long-term loan from the Association for Public Art.

University of Pennsylvania
3401 Market Street, Suite 211
Philadelphia, PA 19104
215.898.5945
www.artcollection.upenn.edu

 

Village of Arts and Humanities

The Village of Arts and Humanities is a community-based arts, education, and neighborhood development organization located in North Philadelphia. The organization seeks to build community through arts-based programs in education, land transformation, construction and economic development. Since 1986 the Village has worked with residents of North Philadelphia to reclaim abandoned space by creating a series of “art parks” and gardens. For information about the Village programs and commissions, contact:

The Village of Arts and Humanities
2544 Germantown Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19133
215.225.3949
info@villagearts.org
www.villagearts.org

 

Philadelphia Contemporary

Established in 2016, Philadelphia Contemporary is a nonprofit organization that presents cross-disciplinary art – installations, visual art, spoken word, dance and more – offering a robust program of pop-up exhibitions and performances across the Philadelphia area in collaboration with various partner organizations. Philadelphia Contemporary is working towards building a new permanent home that will be an independent, freestanding art space designed by Johnston Marklee.

Philadelphia Contemporary
Philadelphia, PA
philadelphiacontemporary.org/contact
www.philadelphiacontemporary.org

 

Philadelphia Sculptors

Philadelphia Sculptors was formed in 1996 by a small group of professional sculptors interested in establishing more visibility and opportunities for Philadelphia sculptors. Through exhibitions, public forums, member services, and educational outreach, the organization aims to expand public awareness of the role and value of sculpture within our culture. Interested artists may apply to become a member, which includes being featured in yearly exhibitions.

Philadelphia Sculptors
1315 Walnut Street, Suite 320
Philadelphia, PA 19107
lesliekaufman@verizon.net
www.philasculptors.org

 

Art Program at Park Towne Place Museum District Residences (Aimco)

Just steps from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is Aimco’s Park Towne Place Museum District Residences, where residents and visitors can enjoy an award-winning art program. In addition to a permanent art collection on display, rotational exhibits showcase established and up-and-coming artists in the area, and include free artist talks and opening receptions. The program is curated by InLiquid and presented by Aimco, the largest owners of apartment homes in Philadelphia.

Park Towne Place Museum District Residences
2200 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Park Towne Place: 215.568.2200
www.parktowneapthomes.com

 

Fashion District Philadelphia

The Fashion District’s art collection is the largest free public art display in a retail offering within the state. Designed in partnership with the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program and curated by Bridgette Mayer, the collection features a mix of installations, showcasing contemporary murals, pop art, 3D designs and sculpture, digital photography, and more.

Fashion District Philadelphia
901 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.925.7162
www.fashiondistrictphiladelphia.com/art