In 1959, Philadelphia passed a law that called for 1 percent of construction costs to be set aside for fine arts projects. Since then the University has acquired campus art that is displayed inside and outside many of the University building. Throughout campus there are many interesting pieces of art that are the part of the fabric of campus, and I wanted to share with you my favorite 10 outdoor pieces of Public Art.
10. Quadrature #1 (T. G. Miller Plaza, Hamilton Walk, between HUP and Medical Education Building) – personally, I have likened it to the Medical School’s own Covenant.
9. 125 Years (Hill Square) – this public work has transformed the pathway diagonally crossing Hill Square, aka Hill Field.
8. Tribute to Tuskegee (20-22 39th Street – South Wall) – one of the few murals that Penn has supported through this program.
7. Column + Capital (Hayden Hall Rear Lawn) – this subtle and sometimes unnoticed piece of art is nod to engineering, highlighting the skill of the Greeks and Romans in the middle of Penn Engineering’s buildings.
6. Solomon (36th Street Walk, South of Walnut street) – this legendary king of Israel both blends in with the grass and flora due to its a green patina and stands out due to its massive size.
5. George Munger (Franklin Field) – Mungermen have left an indelible mark on the football program at Penn and this homage to Coach Munger is a fitting tribute.
4. Love (Blanche Levy Park) – this Robert Indiana classic has been a backdrop for many pictures, ranging from wedding save-the-dates to holiday cards.
3. Ben Franklin – this is a cheat since there are 3 statues of Ben on campus: The prominent Franklin (Blanche Levy Park, in front of College Hall), young Ben Franklin (Weightman Hall on 33rd Street) and the life-sized Ben on the Bench (37th & Locust Walk, South East Corner).
2. Covenant (Hamilton Village, spanning Locust Walk at 39th Street) – the given name to the large cheery-red sculpture of rolled steel that dominates Hamilton Village, aka Superblock.
1. Spilt Button (Blanche Levy Park at Van Pelt Library) – this one needs no introduction.
To learn more about the Public Art at Penn, visit the PennCurrent article, here and to view a map of public art at Penn, visit Penn’s Facilities Map and check the “Public Art” box. Are there pieces that you wished I included? Which ones would you switch out from my list?
In addition, when on campus, art lovers or admirers can learn more about Penn’s outdoor art through the University’s free “Discover Penn” audio walking tour. Launched in 2008 by the Division of Facilities and Real Estate Services, this program provide a number to call, posted on a small, red ground-level sign posted at various sites around campus to hear a short narration about significant University buildings, sculptures, historical events and other points of interest.
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