Artists sought for Ridge Flats project in East Falls

Artists from all corners are being sought to participate in one of the largest development projects to occur in East Falls in recent memory.

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program is seeking examples of recent work from artists who wish to be considered to create an original permanent work of art at Ridge Flats.

Ridge Flats is a mixed-use development with residential and retail offerings being developed by Onion Flats at the intersection of Calumet Street and Kelly Drive in East Falls.

The budget for the public art project is $280,000 and is open to all artists regardless of their geographic location, as long as they are able to meet the Sept. 28 deadline.

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Integrating ideas of ‘community’ and ‘energy’ 

Guiding the submissions are a series of questions being posed by the PRA. They explained that the location and content of the art is “specifically” not yet identified, and that “Onion Flats expects the insight and creativity of the chosen artist to articulate the most appropriate context and direction for the work.”

Their questions include:

• How can the concept of a “building as a community” serve as a catalyst for the art?

• How could energy usage be demonstrated or visualized in a way that translates the direct, day-to-day use of energy? How could this be communicated to the general public in a way that helps to explain what this building means?

• How can the art express the vitals of the building, how it breathes? Critical to the achievement of a Passive House certified project is a building that is virtually “air-tight” and super-insulated. This requires that all units literally “exhale” stale interior air and “inhale” fresh exterior air continuously, without losing energy, and in the process, provide superior indoor air quality.

• How can the lushness and the ambiguity of the private “community garden” on the second level of the complex, as well as the private circulation/community spaces be expressed to the larger public on Ridge Avenue, Calumet and Kelly Drive?

The selection process 

After the initial filing deadline, up to four finalists will be selected by early October by a committee comprised of arts and design professionals invited by both the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and Onion Flats. Final presentations to the selection committee will occur in December after consultations with the artists and a site visit.

Construction at Ridge Flats – which sits at the foot of the historic Falls Bridge along East River Drive and the Schuylkill – is projected to begin in the first quarter of 2013 and be completed by the first quarter of 2014.

Submission should be forwarded to Ted Singer c/o Onion Flats, 111 West Norris Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19122, or via

Questions related to submission requirements may be directed to Julia Guerrero, director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art Program, at

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