Philadelphia’s City-Mandated Art

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,614
    Philadelphia encourages art across the city, from redeveloped buildings to bus shelters, but not all residents enjoy the projects.

    Eric Spaar: Philadelphia has a long and vibrant history of public art. But did you know that the city financially supports art? Margot Berg explains. Margot Berg: City of Philadelphia has 2% for art programs are run the cities program, which mandates the 1% of all city capital dollars spent on new construction, have to incorporate 1% of the budget to site-specific public art. Then there is also a Redevelopment Authority public art program percent for art, which states that 1% developer's budget on Redevelopment Authority land must be spent on site-specific public art.

    The way that we define public art is really about accessibility. So it is art that's not in the gallery or in the studio, but it is art that is meant to be publicly accessible, it's in a place where all can enjoy it and encounter it. Sarah Whaley: I think we need it. I think it makes this well rounded, makes this city have some interest for everybody.

    Margot Berg: One of the more notable percent for art projects in Philadelphia is probably the Clothespin behind me, which was class Oldenburg and that was commissioned in 1976 by the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia. Recent Percent for art projects or city percent for art, "Your Move", the game pieces on Municipal Services Building Plaza, those were created by the Artist Martinez, Petropoulis and White.

    Also bus shelters along Chestnut Street, so they have the Chestnut Street transit way bus shelters where the artist incorporated stained class and other design elements into the septa bus shelters. The artist for that project was Pablo Tauler.

    Eric Spaar: Some residents are frustrated that they don't have input into what art the city selects.

    Sarah Whaley: Some of the new art I don't like, I wish the public had more input because sometimes it seems like the newer art just goes up and nobody knows where that came from or why they chose that. Margot Berg: It's always a challenge for cities to maintain and manage and conserve all these artworks, but for Philadelphia it's really a part of our character. Really going back to you know, almost the 1700s. And so it's something that we really feel committed to keeping up and to keep going.

    Eric Spaar: From Philadelphia, this is Eric Spaar.