Philadelphia's Stenton Park Welcomes New Public Artwork by Karyn Olivier

Philadelphia's Stenton Park Welcomes New Public Artwork by Karyn Olivier

The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy's Percent for Art Program and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation are pleased to announce the completion of School is Out, a new site-specific public artwork by Karyn Olivier at Stenton Park.

This permanent public art installation was commissioned in conjunction with the major renovation of the community center and playground at Stenton Park in Philadelphia. Covering over six acres in the Germantown neighborhood, Stenton Park is adjacent to the Stenton historic house museum, which was home of Philadelphia statesman James Logan.

School is Out consists of a blackboard and twenty engraved granite pavers that create an active space for engagement, inquiry and exploration. Installed on the exterior of the community center, the blackboard serves as a public forum for the community's varying voices and ideas. Bridging the past with the present, new thoughts penned by park users on the blackboard may embellish or counter the ideas on the paving stones.

The quotes engraved in the granite pavers are largely drawn from James Logan's philosophical treatise Of the Duties of Man. Using excerpts from Logan's writings, Olivier sought to connect park users to the important legacies of Logan's life. Alongside Logan's words are quotes from abolitionist and women's rights activist Lucretia Mott, abolitionist and educator Anthony Benezet, and writer and educator Richard Allen, who founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church - the first independent black denomination in America.

Ms. Olivier states that the artwork is "a place for individual reflection of the potent quotes indelibly set in stone [meant to] act as a communal social space for debate and discourse."

This Percent for Art opportunity was nationally announced as an open Call to Artists in December 2013 to artists and artist teams. Five finalists were selected from the Public Art Registry to present proposals. An independent selection panel consisting of artist and community arts educator Michelle Ortiz, artist Clint Takeda, and curator Carmen Vendelin, with advisory support from conservator Sally Malenka of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, and community stakeholders together recommended this project for commission.

About the Artist
Karyn Olivier received her M.F.A. at Cranbrook Academy of Art and her B.A at Dartmouth College. Exhibitions include the Gwangju and Busan Biennials, World Festival of Black Arts and Culture, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of Art, MoMA P.S.1, among others. Olivier's prior commissions include artwork for Philadelphia's Mural Arts program, Creative Time in Central Park and NYC's Percent for Art program. Recently, she received the 2018-19 Rome Prize. Olivier is currently an associate professor and program head of sculpture at Tyler School of Art.

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 City offices to make Philadelphia a great place to live, work and visit.



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