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This year’s bigger Oval will re-envision what the Parkway could be

PORT-designed installations will question the future of the Ben Franklin Parkway as a public space

The Oval+ will return to Eakins Oval on July 20 with new programming and installations.
Rendering by PORT

The Oval is returning to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on July 20 with a new name, Oval+, and wider scope.

The Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department announced Tuesday that the Oval+ is going to be bigger and better this year, with more programming and expanded locations at Aviator Park and Shakespeare Park, topped off with large installations designed by local urban design consultancy firm PORT.

Some of the installations, which are being called “open-air rooms” will stand up to 24 feet tall and light up at night. Each room has been designed to “inspire people to envision future, potential uses for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beyond Eakins Oval.”

The news comes on the heels of the Parkway’s 100th Anniversary and a 2013 study conducted by PennPraxis, which came out with a report called “More Parks, Less Way.” The report was chockfull of interesting ideas for what the future of the Ben Franklin Parkway could be.

Using that report as a jump-off point, PORT, which also has an office in Chicago, designed three open-air rooms that will present different ideas to people who visit Eakins Oval this summer. One installation will be an opportunity for people to explore the “lost and hidden Fairmount Park.” Another will highlight both “the familiar and not-so-familiar aspects of Philadelphia culture and recreation.”

And the third installation will include a new ground mural, also designed by PORT and painted by Mural Arts. Don’t worry—the free activities, kid-friendly spaces, and beer garden will return to the Oval+, too.

The Oval+ will run from July 20 through August 20, Wednesdays through Sundays.

Eakins Oval

Eakins Oval, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Fairmount Park

Reservoir Drive, , PA 19119 (215) 683-3600 Visit Website

Aviator Park

223 N 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103