Percent For Art

Philadelphia is home to an unparalleled collection of public art in every medium – sculptures, paintings, memorials, photographs, glass art, kinetic works, and murals. Over 650 of these artworks were commissioned through the City’s Percent for Art Programs. Sign up to receive Percent for Art related news. Click on the map below to explore these artworks.

PHDC Announces Finalists In ART IS ESSENTIAL PHL Awardees
Philly Artists Connecting Communities

Contact: Jamila Davis, PIO, Department of Planning and Development & PHDC, jamila.davis@phila.gov

PHILADELPHIA, PA-October 29, 2021-PHDC and the James L. Knight Foundation are excited to announce the three Philadelphia artists selected to receive funding to implement their community-based public art ideas through ArtIsEssentialPHL.

Each of the three selected artists will receive an award of $30,000 to realize their project.

  • “Along the 23” by Christina Maria Castro-Tauser
    The project consists of 16 original works of art: eight original visual artworks and eight 2- to 4- minute dance videos (with music). The eight artworks will be reproduced for public display on bus shelters along the route of SEPTA bus 23, each on a different shelter, from 12th and Market Streets to Germantown Avenue and Sedgwick Street. A QR code on every display will access all eight dance videos. The goal for “Along the 23” is to enhance through art the communal experience of riding public transportation and to engage people in exploring their own communities and others as they interact with dance, music, and visual art during their daily lives. 
  • “Gather Together in Their Name” by Jungwoong Kim with Shavon Norris
    Gather Together in Their Name is a community-based project that involves community dialog and collective remembrance, community-informed art-making, family and community archiving, and interactive/immersive art sharing. The project pays homage to the importance of memorial rituals and traditions to community identity and connectivity 
  • “Our Market” by Michelle Angela Ortiz
    Based on the stories collected by community members through gatherings and creative sessions, Ortiz will design twenty (3’x5’) lightboxes that will be installed along the corridor of 9th and Washington Avenue through Ellsworth Street. The twenty lightboxes created will run along the 9th Street corridor under the awnings from Washington Avenue to Ellsworth Street. Each lightbox will  be installed in the existing structures of the metal awnings and will use waterproof LED lights.

“The Art is Essential Program is giving artists the ability to create new avenues of expression for our city and its residents,” said David Thomas, CEO of PHDC. “PHDC and the City of Philadelphia has a long commitment to art, and I look forward to the final products from each of these talented artists.”

Full program details, videos from the artists and more information can be found at ArtIsEssentialPHL.com.

About ART IS ESSENTIAL PHL

ART IS ESSENTIAL PHL is a first of its kind, multi-round program designed to create high-quality, artist-driven and community-informed public art. Artists from across Philadelphia will reimagine how we engage with each other and our communities. This program, made possible with $150,000 of public funds and $150,000 from John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, supports local artists who are interested in expanding public art in Philadelphia. Full program details can be found at ArtIsEssentialPHL.com.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.

About PHDC

PHDC is Philadelphia’s full-service community development organization. From home repair to financing affordable housing, PHDC preserves and develops housing. PHDC also helps residents, community groups, businesses and developers repurpose vacant land. Each initiative supports amenities that make Philadelphia neighborhoods great places to live. PHDC website provides more information on programs and services offered.

PHDC (formerly PRA’s) Percent For Art Background:

The City of Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to adopt programs for acquiring and commissioning works of contemporary public art for new development. The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) pioneered the Percent for Art Program in March 1959, becoming the first program in the United States to make the commissioning of public art an integral part of any publicly funded development. The program has commissioned over 350 works of public art have been installed in all areas of the city. On October 14, 2020, PRA’s Board of Directors authorized the transfer of management and control of the Program to PHDC. The City of Philadelphia also has it’s own Percent for Art program that commissioned over 300 works of public art.

More information on both programs can be found here and here.

2020 Percent for Art Committee Members

Margot Berg
Blake Bradford
Ignacio Bunster-Ossa

Peter Crawford
Ofelia Garcia
Germaine Ingram

Christine Marsal
Louis Massiah
Laura Spina

With questions or for more information contact Katherine Liss at katherine.liss@phila.gov.

Percent for Art Policy – September 15 2021: Review the full Percent for Art Program policy.