Percent for Art Program Announces New Public Art Commission at the Discovery Center

Percent for Art Program Announces New Public Art Commission at the Discovery Center The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy's Percent for Art Program is pleased to announce a new site-specific public art commission at the Discovery Center by Philadelphia-based artist, Warren Holzman.

Blacksmith and visual artist Warren Holzman will create a unique forged steel gate that celebrates the landscape and the architecture. Mr. Holzman is a master iron-worker who often uses a traditional technique called forging to fabricate intricate and ornamental patterns. His gates will serve as the aesthetic centerpiece of the building, while still complimenting the surrounding natural setting.

On it's aesthetic, the artists states:
"The gates will be comprised of a single repeating motif that when closely inspected alludes to common forms found in and around the Reservoir varying from biological to botanical and ornithological. When viewed as whole, the interlocking forms transform singular units into a greater whole as a subtle nod to the Discovery Center's collective effort between the community, the Audubon Society, Outward Bound, and the City of Philadelphia."

The Discovery Center is a new park project in the Strawberry Mansion section of Fairmount Park, which will serve as Philadelphia's premier environmental education center. Located on the banks of the the decommissioned basin of the East Park Reservoir complex, the park will consist of 37.6 acres of lake and 12.4 acres of natural land. Anchored by a building of the same name, the Discovery Center will serve as the local offices for two major organizations: the Philadelphia Outward Bound School and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Audubon Society. Together, they will facilitate nationally-recognized environmental education and leadership programs, with 25,000 anticipated yearly visitors.

Stewardship of the Discovery Center will come from the newly formed East Park Leadership and Conservation Center. DIGSAU Architects designed the building; Ground Reconsidered and Hillworks designed the landscape.

Rendering of Mr. Holzman's gates, shown open; Courtesy of Iron Studio and DIGSAU Architects About the Artist
Warren Holzman is an internationally renown Philadelphia-based blacksmith and visual artist. In 1999, Mr. Holzman opened Iron Studio Ltd., a custom blacksmithing shop known for its sophisticated craftwork and attention to design. Since then, Iron Studio has produced work for commercial companies, private residences, public art, and sculpture. Among his public works are the arch at Port Richmond's Campbell Square Park, the sculptural podium in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. in South Philly's Hawthorne Park, the monumental pretzel sculpture in Manayunk's Pretzel Park, and the steel podium for President George W. Bush's 2000 inauguration. Mr. Holzman also teaches metal forging at Bryn Athyn College.

This Percent for Art opportunity was nationally announced as an open call to artists and artist teams in July 2016. Five finalists were selected to present proposals from a pool of 85 applicants. The selection panel consisted of: Syd Carpenter, Artist and Professor, Swarthmore College; Winifred Lutz, Artist and Professor, Tyler School of Art; Annette Monnier, Artist and Executive Director, University Arts League. The Advisory Panel consisted of representatives from: the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the East Park Leadership and Conservation Center, Audubon PA, Philadelphia Outward Bound School, Strawberry Mansion CDC, DIGSAU Architects, and a conservator from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The selection panel unanimously selected Mr. Holzman's proposal.

About the Percent for Art Program
The Percent for Art Program of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy commissions exceptional and enduring works of site-specific public art by renowned and emerging artists for City of Philadelphia buildings and public spaces. Philadelphia's public art collection is recognized as the largest and most remarkable in the world. Since 1959, more than 300 works of art have been commissioned through the City of Philadelphia's Percent for Art Ordinance. For more information about the Percent for Art Program, visit:, and on Twitter @CreativePHL and Instagram @CreativePHL.

About City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy supports and promote arts, culture and the creative industries; develops partnerships that ensure culture and creativity are essential components of Philadelphia's community revitalization, education, and economic development strategies; and links Philadelphians to cultural resources and opportunities. For more information about the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, visit:, and on Twitter @CreativePHL and Instagram @CreativePHL.

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