PHILADELPHIA – New art is coming to Maplewood Mall, and the City is asking for residents’ opinions.
The City has created a website with four artists’ proposals and a survey for the public to weigh in. Residents can rank their favorite proposals. They can also add comments on what they would like to see added to or changed about the concepts. The survey opened on March 24 and will remain open until May 7.
The art is a result of the City’s Percent for Art program. It is part of the renovation of Maplewood Mall. Contractors completed most of the reconstruction of the mall in January 2021.
“Public art is important in every neighborhood,” said Anne Fadullon, Director of the City’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD). “And we should not create public art in a vacuum. We want the residents of Germantown and Philadelphia to tell us what art here would speak to them.”
The City Planning Commission, which is part of DPD, led the effort to reconstruct the mall. Its community partners are Germantown United and Friends of Maplewood Mall. Other public agencies participating are the Department of Commerce, Parks and Recreation, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, and PIDC.
“Maplewood Mall is ready to welcome back shoppers and diners,” said Erica Johnson, of Collective Artistry and Friends of Maplewood Mall. “The art project will complete the revitalization of this important commercial corridor.”
“Public art speaks to a community’s hopes, dreams, and values,” said Emaleigh Doley, executive director of Germantown United. “I hope Germantown residents will lend their voices to help create art that is meaningful to them.”
“Busy commercial corridors are successful commercial corridors,” said Michael Rashid, Commerce Director. “Public art attracts people to public spaces where they can then support neighborhood businesses.”
The artists whose work is under consideration are:
- Amber Art and Design
- Eric Okdeh and Femi Olatunji
- Ifee Nii Owoo
- Kate Kaman
Each artist’s proposal is on the survey website.
A panel comprised of Germantown residents and art professionals will review the proposals, the survey results, and comments. That review will take place in early June.
The criteria by which the panel will review the proposals include:
- Appropriateness of the design to Germantown and to Maplewood Mall
- Quality and impact of community engagement
- Artistic excellence
A full list of criteria are on the survey website.
The panel will present a recommended proposal to the Philadelphia Art Commission for consideration at its July meeting. Should the Commission approve the recommendation implementation of the project is expected to begin in fall of 2021.