Amid the ongoing $36 million renovation of the Free Library’s Parkway Central branch, officials have announced a new piece of public art that will be installed among a sea of books.
Philly artist Colette Fu will create eight tunnel book dioramas that will be placed along a wall of bookshelves on either side of the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) and the common areas.
“Each tunnel book will consist of four to six pieces of uniquely laser-cut acrylic, layered in a way that creates a complex and playful design between light and shadow,” the announcement said.
To be clear, the roughly 30’’x30’’ dioramas will not be walk-through tunnels, but they will be lit, explains OACCE public art director Margot Berg.
Fu says the book dioramas will be inspired by images of the library’s old stacks area, which houses hundreds of thousands of books and other materials, but is closed off to the public. As part of the multi-million dollar Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, the stacks area will be removed, replaced by a two-story room for public use.
Fu’s public art commission is part of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s Percent for Art Program, which requires builders to commission and incorporate art into their projects if they are located on city-acquired land. Fu’s proposal was unanimously selected by a group of jurors from 112 applicants.
The renovations at Parkway Central, as well as four other branches, are ongoing.