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Why Philadelphia Is Commissioning Skateable Public Art

The city hopes to engage young people in its downtown parks and museum plazas by installing skateable sculptures.
One of Jonathan Monk's "skateable sculptures"
One of Jonathan Monk's "skateable sculptures"Facebook/City of Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program

Philadelphia kicked off its new public outdoor-arts exhibition Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space on Friday with two sculptures made for skateboarding on. The artist Jonathan Monk installed the “Skateable Sculptures” in Paine’s Park, a publicly funded skate park built in 2013, not far from the downtown Philadelphia Museum of Art. Monk’s sculptures appropriate, in some ways, some of Sol LeWitt’s public artworks found in the museum’s sculpture garden.

In an effort to “explore and illuminate Philadelphia’s diverse urban identity,” additional pieces built for public interaction will be created through October by a range of artists, including Shepard Fairey and immigrants-rights activist and artist Michelle Angela Ortiz. The project as a whole is part of Philadelphia’s famed Mural Arts Program.