More public art is coming to Germantown’s Maplewood Mall, and Germantown residents can contribute to it.
Germantown artist Kate Kaman will design and install community-focused public art to complete reconstruction of the mall. Kaman has begun community engagement to invite local residents to contribute to the project.
The design will include images of flowers and plants recommended by Germantown residents. Residents may submit suggestions and images online or in-person. Paper survey forms are available at mall businesses. The survey will end on September 6.
“The specific imagery in the artwork will be driven by community input,” said Kaman, whose studio is on Germantown Ave. “This is an opportunity for me to collect memories, preferences, and history from neighbors about plants and flowers that I wouldn’t be able to know on my own.”
The art will be on the capstones of the seat wall at the Greene Street end of the mall. It will be terrazzo with brass inlays.
Community input has already informed the design. Through earlier community engagement residents identified neighborhood history, change, gentrification, and inclusivity as themes they wanted the art to address. Residents also had the opportunity to review, score, and comment on the six proposals by the semi-finalists to determine which one they believed was the best fit for the site.
The artwork will help to make the plaza a welcoming place for community activity. The plaza design supports informal gatherings as well as performances, festivals, and block parties.
The Maplewood Mall Committee selected Kaman out of 53 artists who responded to a request for qualifications. The committee included area residents and artists, mall business owners, and City staff involved in the mall’s redesign.
“In three words, Kate’s design is powerful, elegant, and community-minded,” said local resident and social practice artist Yinka Orafidiya. “I am confident that this installation will help enliven the mall and reignite it as a dynamic gathering spot for the Germantown community. We deserve beauty.”
Fabrication of the art will begin in fall 2021. Installation should be complete in spring 2022.
The installation is the final component of the reconstruction of Maplewood Mall. The $3.3 million project included a new water main, a brick roadway, trees, bicycle racks, seating, landscaping, and trash cans. The reconstruction of the mall was completed in fall 2020.
About Kate Kaman: Kate Kaman is an American Artist who resides in Germantown. She has spent the last decade of her career focused on creating architecturally oriented, site-specific works of art across the country working alongside community members, engineers, and architects. Kaman’s specialties include permanent exterior artworks, suspended atrium sculpture, and decorative surfaces of public spaces.
About Percent for Art: The City of Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to adopt programs to require public art for new developments using public resources. Both the City and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) began Percent for Art programs in 1959. Together the programs have commissioned more than 650 works of public art in neighborhoods across the city.