October 12 – November 30, 2019
301 S. Columbus Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Independence Seaport Museum Boat Basin
Philadelphia Sculptors, together with the Dina Wind Art Foundation, is collaborating with the Independence Seaport Museum to sponsor Flow an exhibition of floating sculptural installations. The artworks will be sited in the boat basin adjacent to the Museum at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River in Philadelphia. The intent of the exhibition is to unite art with the river, and with the Museum’s mission and programming. Five juried artists, along with five invited artists previously selected, will interpret the river and how it affects, and is affected by, human and natural history; human and natural migrations; climate change and the environment; economic development; and political currents. The geographic focus of the show is on the Americas.
Flow is envisioned to expand the viewer’s knowledge and perceptions of a body of water whose importance lies both in its role in Philadelphia’s past and present, and in its connection to the larger world. Beginning in the Catskill Mountains of New York, the Delaware River flows through five states until it empties into the Atlantic Ocean at the Delaware Bay. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the first landing in the U.S. of many European immigrants was at Penn’s Landing on the Delaware River. The Irish Memorial near Penn’s Landing commemorates the Irish who fled The Great Hunger.
Over the years, immigration patterns changed, reducing the human flow, and environmental conditions changed as well. By the 1950’s and ‘60’s, the river was so polluted from sewage and industrial waste that it created a dead zone where no aquatic life could survive. It wasn’t until the Clean Water Act of 1972 that things began to improve. Today, fish have returned, the stench is gone, the water is cleaner, and much more attention is being paid to the river’s ecology. The section of the river that borders Philadelphia continues to be vital to the City’s economic, recreation, and maritime sectors. Yet even though the fish have returned, agricultural and industrial pollution, along with the ubiquity of plastics, create new challenges.
Artworks selected for Flow will engage the viewing audience in re-thinking the river and the relationships between our waterways and human endeavors. Some artworks may respond to the new exhibit at the Museum, River Alive!, that offers an overview of the Delaware River Watershed with an emphasis on biology and water quality. Others may interpret the theme in a more metaphorical or personal way. Creative and innovative approaches are encouraged.
Flow will enliven the waterfront after the popular Spruce Street Harbor activities have shut down in September, providing a new destination in the cooler months. Lighting on some of the installations will also provide a presence at night.