Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Kimmel Center Opens New, Free & Interactive Plaza Exhibition Featuring Two Art Installations

Kimmel Center Opens New, Free & Interactive Plaza Exhibition Featuring Two Art Installations

Come for the seat. Stay for the spin! But Look Up! Look In... The Kimmel Center Cultural Campus is excited to open a new, 3-month, FREE Plaza exhibition featuring works from multiple Mexican artists. Los Trompos, an interactive installation in Commonwealth Plaza, brings to life ten 3D spinning tops; Philadelphians are invited to sit or spin on the structures, fulfilling the artists' vision for collaboration and community interaction as the public works together to make the structures move. The creations of Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, these colorful sculptures are created by artists utilizing a traditional fabric weave and appear in varied shapes and colors. The Kimmel Center has commissioned Look Up! Look In by Mexican-American, Philadelphia-based artist Karina Puente and Karina Puente Arts International. Puente has designed "Papel Picado", 53 hand-cut panels suspended above the Commonwealth Plaza. The installations are 5-feet wide and range between 6-12 feet long.

Los Trompos (translated to "The Spinning Tops") and Look Up! Look In are part of the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus' ongoing Commonwealth Plaza activation & FREE programming, following the popular Swing @ the Kimmel virtual reality installation this winter.

"These spinning tops are visually stunning and excitingly experiential," said Ed Cambron, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. "This multi-faceted installation from collaborators Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena is one piece of our ongoing legacy of bringing International Artists to Philadelphia. We are also thrilled to once again commission new art for local audiences through a partnership with our city's own Karina Puente. Her companion aerial piece entitled Look Up! Look In perfectly complements our vision to transform lives daily through the arts, inspiring guests to experience art in new and diverse ways."

"It is exhilarating to pair the work of a local Mexican-American artist in the air with the spinning sculptures from Mexico City of Los Trompos on the ground - giving us all a chance to celebrate and recognize these two traditional crafts and having it all come together to bring our Plaza to life," said Jay Wahl, Producing Artistic Director of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

The Los Trompos installation was first commissioned by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, and premiered in 2015 in the Woodruff Arts Center's Carroll Slater Sifly Piazza. Since then Los Trompos has traveled throughout the United States, appearing in Houston, Texas; West Palm Beach, Florida; UNC Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Scottsdale, Arizona.

"Papel Picado", or "perforated paper/pecked paper", originally derived from the Aztecs, specifically within the San Salvador Huixcolotla area of Mexico, and is created by crafting shapes into paper. Papel picado is also at times associated with air as an element. Headed by Puente, Karina Puente Arts International is a female-run, Philadelphia-based studio. Puente's work has been displayed at Columbia University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Studios at Mass MoCA, Corcoran National Gallery, Miami MoCA, Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, and Elverhoj Museum of History and Art.

Puente credits her upbringing and heritage when speaking of the papel picado artform: "My custom, hand cut patterns root my practice in tradition and keep me connected to ancestors. Weekly family calls with my Tias in Santa Barbara always result in an AHA! moment. Through the exhibition Look Up! Look In, my aim is to articulate the spark of a new idea, arrive at solution-oriented thinking, and fly high during this important cultural moment."

Los Trompos and Look Up! Look In dates and hours of operation

  • Monday, August 19 - Sunday, November 17
  • Los Trompos is available for public use at any time during normal building operating hours (10 AM - 6 PM, Daily).

Los Trompos and Look Up! Look In are FREE. The Kimmel Center is the region's most impactful performing arts organization and a non-profit - donations received by guests enjoying the installations will go toward the Kimmel Center's education programs and institutional initiatives. Participants are encouraged to text K-I-M-M-E-L to 444999 to donate. More information at

Related Articles View More Philadelphia Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You