Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation will be hosting the fifth summer of The Oval this year called The Oval+ (Plus) presented by PNC. The Oval+ features an expanded footprint and unique installations in addition to the ever-popular movie and music nights, food trucks, beer garden, and family-friendly activities. We have engaged a cutting-edge design firm, PORT Urbanism of Philadelphia and Chicago, to develop an installation that will inspire people to envision future, potential uses for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beyond Eakins Oval.
Taking the theme of “What’s your Parkway, Philly?” this year’s Oval+ creates focal points on the Parkway from the Philadelphia Museum of Art to Logan Circle – for connecting with nature; enjoying art, culture, and play; or gathering for public dialogue about the future of the Parkway. Three immersive open-air “rooms” explore these current and future aspects of the Parkway and its open spaces. One “room” invites visitors to explore the lost and hidden Fairmount Park. Another celebrates the familiar and not-so-familiar aspects of Philadelphia culture and recreation. And the third space, centered on a giant ground mural of the city, invites locals and visitors to literally draw onto the city what they imagine their Parkway to be. The new ground mural, designed by PORT Urbanism and painted by Mural Arts Philadelphia, will complement the installations at the Oval. At night, the installations – some extending to 24 feet in height – will be illuminated from within, creating a glowing effect.
Other elements include a dynamic maze which will wind through the trees and a stage to accommodate a changing schedule of public events large and small. Also, to continue the theme, nearby Aviator Park and the newly renovated Shakespeare Park further down the Parkway will be the site of additional Oval+ installations and activities from collaborating organizations like the Franklin Institute and Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Oval+ will run from July 20-August 20, Wednesdays through Sundays. Highlights include:
- The Oval Beer Garden serving hot food, craft brews, wine, and cocktails
- Wellness Wednesdays with power yoga classes by Yoga Habit and kickboxing from CKO
- Arts & Culture Thursdays featuring hip-hop classes and DJ dance parties
- Food & Flicks Fridays showing free popular movies at dusk
- Game Day Saturdays presenting Quizzo and music jam sessions in the Beer garden
- Family Fun Sundays with Let’s Rock Recess, a kids’ DJ dance party in the Beer Garden
- Games like mini-golf, cornhole, ping-pong, and giant chess and checkers
Inspiration for this year’s design came from a 2013 study performed by PennPraxis recommending “more park, less way” along this important thoroughfare. Summer at The Oval+ is presented by PNC and supported by funding from ArtPlace America.