After 16-Year Hiatus, Mid-century Public Art To Return To Public View

 

“Free Interpretation of Plant Forms” takes shape as Harry Bertoia and his studio assistant weld copper pipes in Bally, PA, 1966 | Photo courtesy of HarryBertoia Foundation

  • Tomorrow morning the grounds of Chestnut Hill’s Woodmere Museum will witness its latest installation: furniture designer Harry Bertoia’s 1967 14’ by 12’  sculpture “Free Interpretation of Plant Forms,” which has sat next to a police station in North Philadelphia since being removed from the grounds of the Philadelphia Civic Center prior to that building’s demolition in 2000. The New York Times says the sculpture will become the centerpiece to the museum’s six acres of lawn that fronts Germantown Avenue, and will be better connected to its natural setting and admirers than was possible at its old municipal home.
  • A tentative agreement has been reached in Point Breeze between the developers and neighbors of the shuttered Walter Smith School allowing for its conversion into residential units, reports Jacob Adelman for The Inquirer. Concordia Group’s concessions include: 10,000 square feet of the facility’s 64,500 square feet to be set aside for later reuse for a charter school, the marketing of 20% of its eventual number of units as affordable housing, and the occasional use of its parking lot by a nearby church. Still, some Point Breeze residents dislike the residential reuse plan.
  • Naked Philly cues us into the fight to preserve an 80+ year-old tree near 2nd & Manton Streets in Pennsport where a newly purchased adjacent lot is so diminutive that the tree will likely need to be cut down. While this could be seen as an admirable civic campaign for streetscape aesthetics and urban tree canopy if it wasn’t so obviously self-serving, the blog feels that the lawyers will have an easy enough time in deflecting the motion when it comes up at next month’s ZBA meeting.
  • Mayor Jim Kenney announced yesterday that nine schools public schools—including the elementary schools Cramp, Edmunds, Gideon, Logan and Southwark, and the high schools Dobbins, South Philly and Kensington Health Sciences, and Tilden Middle School—will double as community centers by offering its disadvantaged neighborhoods vision and dental care, adult literacy and legal help, reports CBS Philly’s Pat Loeb.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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