Philadelphia's Martin Luther King Older Adult Center Welcomes New Public Artwork By Ava Blitz

By: Oct. 10, 2018
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Philadelphia's Martin Luther King Older Adult Center Welcomes New Public Artwork By Ava Blitz The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy's Percent for Art Program is pleased to announce the completion of Flying Carpet, a new site-specific public artwork by local artist Ava Blitz at the Martin Luther King (MLK) Older Adult Center.

This permanent public art installation was commissioned in conjunction with the 2017 construction of the MLK Older Adult Center at 2100 W. Cecil B. Moore Ave. in North Central Philadelphia. Previously housed within the MLK Recreation Center, this new building provides the Older Adult Center with its own location and identity, with new facilities, resources, and public artwork for its tenants.

Ms. Blitz's site-specific artwork consists of glass mosaic tiles. Each piece reflects and absorbs the light, welcoming visitors to the center. The imagery depicted offers an abstracted illustration of the natural world. Hidden within are symbols of the activities taking place in the Center including billiards, cards, dancing, textiles and bus trips. The overall pattern design references a carpet and the title, Flying Carpet, alludes to the adventures which take place within the center.

Philadelphians at the MLK Older Adult Center officially welcomed the new public artwork on Friday, October 5 with a public reception and opportunity for the community to meet the artist. MLK Older Adult Center site visitors with the completed Flying Carpet installation.

Ava Blitz is a local visual artist who currently divides her time between studio work in sculpture, works on paper, photography, and public art. Blitz's public works and commissions are many, including installations in Tokyo, Japan, at the Philadelphia International Airport, and at the University City Science Center.

Percent for Art Commission by Ava Blitz, Flying Carpet
This Percent for Art opportunity was nationally announced as an open Call to Artists in February 2016 to artists and artist teams. Out of the 47 applicants, five finalists were selected to present proposals. The selection panel consisted of: Sarah Archer, Curator and Writer; Lonnie Graham, Artist and Professor, Penn State University; Diane Sidener, Folklorist and Fiber Artist. The Advisory Panel consisted of representatives from: the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, the Department of Public Property, SMP Architects, a conservator from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Older Adult Center, and Council President Darrell L. Clarke's Office.

About the Percent for Art Program
Enacted in 1959, the Percent for Art ordinance requires that one percent of the total dollar amount of any construction project that includes City funds be devoted to the commissioning of site-specific public art. The first of its kind in the nation, the program has commissioned over 300 works of art. The intent of the Percent for Art Ordinance is to enhance the City's public environment by incorporating exceptional site-specific works of art.

About City of Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy's (OACCE) mission is to support and promote arts, culture, and the creative industries; and to develop partnerships and coordinate efforts that weave arts, culture, and creativity into the economic and social fabric of the city of Philadelphia.

The OACCE manages and oversees City arts programs, provides services to artists and arts organizations and serves as the primary point of municipal contact for local organizations, businesses, artists and creative entrepreneurs. As Philadelphia's local arts agency, the OACCE works in cooperation with the Mayor, City Council, and other municipal offices to make Philadelphia a great place to live, work and visit.


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