Find out how to learn about Duck Girl by Paul Manship and other Philly sculptures at www.museumwithoutwallsaudio.org. Credit: Association for Public Art
It’s the perfect time to take in some outdoor art. Think about it: you’re recovering from the hangover of Octoberfests and in need of stimuli that isn’t pumpkin-flavored or hoppy. And soon it will too cold and rainy to stroll through Rittenhouse, fighting off hordes of slow-moving holiday shoppers. Go now, before it’s too late, and catch up on the latest additions to Museum Without Walls.
Museum Without Walls is a project by the Association for Public Art, the oldest private art organization in the United States, says Laura Griffith, assistant director at APA. Since 2010, Museum Without Walls has been tapping into modern technology as a way to teach Philadelphians about the artwork that they pass each day. This includes famous works like the giant clothespin and the LOVE sculpture in Love Park.
The organization has created a phone app that provides audio commentary on the designated artwork. Typically, the pieces include three voices. “The audio portion is like a conversation between various people who have an authentic voice,” says Griffith. “These are people who have a connection to the art. Sometimes it’s the artist or someone related to the artist. It features so many different kinds of people giving an interpretation.”
It began with works on the Parkway and stretched into various neighborhoods, covering 65 pieces and encompassing over 150 different voices to help tell the story of Philly art. The latest expansion now includes three well-known sculptures in Rittenhouse Square: Lion Crushing a Serpent, Duck Girl and Billy Goat, a favorite among kids. The thing is, you know all three of these sculptures, but what do you know about them? Take advantage of the not-too-chilly weather and discover the history behind these beauties.
If you want to really get some culture in, check out some of these other highlights from Museum Without Walls:
Fairmount/Art Museum: The Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther, installed on the Parkway in 1929.
Southwest Philadelphia: The Labor Monument: Philadelphia’s Tribute to the American Worker, with commentary by the artist.
Wissahickon Creek: Fingerspan, an enclosed steel bridge that crosses the gorge near Livezey Dam.