Philly issues call to artists to design creative city bicycle racks

bike rack bicycle rack philadelphia
Imagine the possibilities … (Credit: Rikard Larma/Metro)

Philadelphia will soon launch an open competition inviting artists and designers to create unique bicycle racks for the city that also function as public sculptures.

The challenge is being held by Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, in partnership with the Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia, and supported by a $50,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its Knights Arts Challenge.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to partner with the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to bring functional public art into our built environment, that both beautifies our city and helps support efforts to promote bicycling and sustainability,” Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer said in a statement.

“It’s a way of reinforcing the critical role the arts can play in everyday civic life.”

Philadelphia has the most bicycle commuters per capita of the ten largest cities in the U.S. and is experiencing a correlating increase in demand for bike racks.

The city  is also world-renowned for its collection of public art and large and growing community of working artists.

Organizers said they hope the competition will fill the need for additional bike parking while raising awareness of the convenience and fun of cycling and solidifying the city’s identity as a leading purveyor of public art.

“In Philadelphia, our hope is that everywhere you go, you have an encounter with art – to experience a moment of inspiration that brings people together and helps strengthen a sense of community,” Vice President of the Arts at the Knight Foundation Dennis Scholl said in a statement.

“These artistic bike racks will be a fun way to help weave culture into people’s everyday lives.”

The competition was one of 43 Philadelphia arts ideas to receive more than $2 million in funding from the Knight Arts Challenge.

Potential bicycle rack designs will be judged by an independent selection panel.



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