After decades of brightening Philadelphia with wall murals, the city’s Mural Arts Program is going 3-D. Its Open Source project will install sculptures in temporary locations throughout the city.
Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts Program, unveiled the first installation in Paine’s Park along the Schuylkill River Thursday. She sees the sculpture project as a natural progression of the program’s work.
“I think what we have been doing over the last five, six years is really exploring muralism in the 21st century and all that means,” she explains. “I think we have an obligation to our program, to the city and to the field, to keep pushing it as far as we can. So some of our projects now are conceptual, some are installations, some are sculptural like this one.”
Open Source’s curator Pedro Alonzo says the heart of the project is its interactivity. The two works installed in Paine’s Park — “Steps” and “Pyramid” by British artist Jonathan Monk — are skatable.
Skateboarder Brannon John tried them Thursday and gave them a thumbs-up, noting, “They’re a little different. Part of an obstacle that’s fun to skate is that it’s not exactly made for skateboarding. So that’s cool about it.”
Golden says the project adds to the ways people can engage with art.
“I like to think that people can interact with artwork. Sometimes it’s during the conceptual or design phase, sometimes it’s during and people participate in the artmaking process,” she said. “And so I just love the fact that Jonathan Monk wanted to do skatable sculpture.”
Thirteen more interactive installations will be placed in locations all around the city through October.