Since Philadelphia adopted the Percent For Art Program back in 1959, developers have had to devote 1% of their budget to commission a piece of public art. As a result, Philadelphia is sprinkled with hidden artistic gems. These four pieces of art are worth creating a field trip around, regardless of how they were funded.
Dream Garden: Tucked away in the lobby of the Curtis Center on Washington Square is a glass mosaic masterpiece that is the product of a unique collaboration between the studios of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Philadelphia native Maxfield Parrish. With over 100,000 pieces of favrile glass, and set in front of an indoor fountain, this is the perfect place to escape the city when the weather is getting you down.
A Love Letter For You: This series of murals by former graffiti artist Steve Powers (ESPO) requires a SEPTA token to experience properly. Set along the MFL aboveground in West Philadelphia, these 50 rooftop love notes tell the tale of a romance between a guy and his girl, his city, and his neighborhood. Catch them zooming past on the El, via a Mural Arts tour, or watch a slideshow from your couch.
Skin of the Bride: The South Street area is teeming with Isaiah Zagar’s dense and eclectic murals and is home to his Magic Gardens, a pseudo-museum. Nearly two miles away, though, nestled between the historic buildings of Old City is a Zagar masterpiece shrouding the Painted Bride Art Center. While visiting, step inside the Bride to see their gallery space.
Franklin Town Park Connections: You may have walked through Athena Tacha’s environmental public sculpture on your way to the Fairmount Whole Foods and simply thought you were walking through a garden and not an important piece by a contemporary artist. Linger through the garden/art and notice Tacha’s undulating landscaping and large rock formations.