Fairmount Park Conservancy was honored to be selected for the Community Development Investments program of ArtPlace America in 2015.  One of six not-for-profits across the country, Fairmount Park Conservancy has been given the opportunity to invest in arts and culture as part of its mission to make Philadelphia’s park system a national model of urban revitalization, sustainability and civic engagement.

Year I of the Arts and Culture Program at the Conservancy included a host of workshops, engagement efforts, exhibitions and related programming, touching on the many and various aspects of the park system. Fairmount Launch at The Oval presented several late-summer events designed to better connect the visitors of the pop-up space with Fairmount Park. Guided bike tours highlighted future park plans; a collaboration with Public Workshop allowed participants to create an edible model of the park in chocolate cake; a flag-making workshop hosted by Camp Little Hope led to user-made and designed flags of Fairmount Park. All of these events were held in concert with wider free distribution of the “50 Unique Experiences” map of Fairmount Park.

Years 2 + 3 of the Arts and Culture Program at FPC will focus on specific communities neighboring Fairmount Park, namely Strawberry Mansion and East Parkside. Building on existing relationships and planning work in Strawberry Mansion, Amber Art & Design will begin a neighborhood-based artist residency at the historic Hatfield House. Amber, a local artist collective with a varied body of work, will work directly with the community to map the neighborhood’s cultural assets, as well as develop a conceptual park gateway for Strawberry Mansion and other related projects.

In West Fairmount Park, we are partnering with West Park Cultural Center and Global Philadelphia to host the 10th annual West Park Arts Fest, which will be held outdoors in Fairmount Park for the first time. The change in location presents challenges in terms of access and visibility, but also opportunities to better connect the neighborhood and the park and to provide programs related to the area’s rich history as the grounds of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. Working with a guest curator, the Conservancy will commission works by Philadelphia artists for temporary outdoor installations.

The Conservancy is also engaging designers and artists on an expansion of The Oval installation, a seasonal pop-up park on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, using activities, imagery, lighting and other strategies to re-think the pedestrian realm of Philadelphia’s signature grand boulevard.

Join us as we continue to explore how the work of artists and cultural organizations can enrich our neighborhood parks and make our signature watershed parks hum with vitality, interpretation and community connection.

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About ArtPlace America

ArtPlace America is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

For more information visit ArtPlaceAmerica.org