Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Public Art

Philadelphia celebrates 50 years of "Percent for Art" program

Because I'm easy, and because somebody (the artist's son) asked for it, here's a color version of the black & white photo that ran in my "Scene Through the Lens" newspaper column a couple of weeks ago.

The sculpture of the seated older man is one of three pieces by Leonard Baskin installed in 1966 on the plaza at Society Hill Towers during Philadelphia's urban renewal. The work is called Old Man, Young Man, The Future and was Baskin's first major sculpture created for an outdoor setting. It was commissioned as part of the Redevelopment Authority's "Percent for Art" program mandating that a percentage of construction costs for municipal projects be set aside for fine arts.

Over 300 works of art have been commissioned since the program - the first of its kind in the nation - was created fifty years ago. An exhibition, One Percent, of photographs by students from The University of the Arts, Moore College of Art, Temple University Tyler School of Art and The Art Institute of Philadelphia  is currently on exhibit at The Art Institute Gallery on Chestnut Street.

Baskin's is not the only works of public art that have ended up in my photos recently. A quick look turned up these two in just the past couple weeks (only one's a "percent for art" work):

That's one of the twelve life-size Humanity in Motion figures by Jonathan Borofsky - wearing special 3-D glasses during unveiling/preview of "The Holiday Spectacular in 3-D," in the lobby of the Comcast Center.

On the wall at the West Philadelphia branch of Settlement Music School is "Music: Joy of Life" by Sam Maitin.  I was doing a quick lighting test for a portrait (it hasn't run in the newspaper yet) when the kids passed through the lobby.