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Benjamin Franklin Parkway to feature glowing art installation for 100th birthday

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Five “mesmerizing” domes will light up the parkway

A rendering of a glowing, colorful dome structure on Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
A $1.25 million art installation will bring five glowing dome structures to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Renderings by Jennifer Steinkamp

The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is turning 100 years old this year, and the city is going all out with birthday celebrations, starting with a $1.25 million art installation that will light up the parkway with sparkling, glass-beaded domes.

The Parkway Council, a coalition of cultural and educational institutions, businesses, and residences in the Parkway Museums District, announced yesterday that it commissioned artist Jennifer Steinkamp to design the art installation as part of the Parkway 100 celebration, which will take place from September 8, 2017 to November 16, 2018. The William Penn Foundation is funding what the Association for Public Art calls a “mesmerizing” public art installation.

The exhibit is called “Winter Fountains for the Parkway,” and will feature five glowing domes along the stretch, all inspired by the parkway’s fountains. Steinkamp’s installation is considered the centerpiece of the whole year-long celebration, and will be on display from December 2017 through March 2018.

One of the glowing domes next to the Rodin Museum.
Rendering by Jennifer Steinkamp

They’ll be pretty big, too. The domes will each be 7.5-feet-tall and 35 feet in diameter. Each one will be covered in glass beads, which will make for some shimmery effects during the day. At night, they’ll turn into projection screens to show off Steinkamp’s “flowing video animations,” the announcement read.

Where exactly the five domes will be located hasn’t been announced, but the preliminary renderings show one right next to the Rodin Museum and another at Sister Cities Park.

Although Steinkamp’s installation will a main attraction along the Parkway next winter, it’s only one part of the Parkway 100 celebrations. All of the cultural institutions located on the Parkway will host special exhibits and there will be festivals, concerts, and other events held throughout the year, too. Sure, next winter is—fortunately—a long way off, but at least we know there’s already something to look forward to.