Step onto the Walnut Locust subway platform today and you’re likely to see something that looks a little more reminiscent of a museum than the typical old SEPTA stop.
For the next month, all the ads that normally line the walls and spaces between the tracks will be replaced with pieces from 30 different local artists, all in an effort to, “inspire thousands of commuters on a daily basis,” said Brendan Lowry, one of the organizers behind the project. Lowry and his group, Rory Creative is pairing up with City Fitness to fill all 110 ad spaces in the popular subway stop with art from Philly-based creators—along with their bio and Instagram handle— starting today and lasting until March 10.
After the project is over, the art pieces will be installed in any other open ad space across Philly’s whole subway system for the rest of the year, City Fitness’ Tom Wingert said.
Aptly named, #TrackTakeover, the project is an extension of the organizers’ wildly popular #TrashcanTakeover project last summer. The original project was created in response to loud yellow ads reading “300 Jeeps Cheap” that had popped up on BigBelly trashcans around Center City last spring and summer. At the time, Wingert and Lowry wanted to buy out some of that trashcan ad space and turn it over to local artists, which they did for 18 trashcans around Rittenhouse Square.
The influx of art to the popular public space became such a big hit with Philly residents and visitors, that Wingert and Lowry started thinking about ways to introduce more local and public art to frequented spaces in the city.
That’s how #TrackTakeover came to be. But unlike its predecessor, this new art project isn’t in response to obnoxious ads. Instead, it’s merely a way to give local artists good exposure and bring more art to the city.
“Both #TrashcanTakeover and now #TrackTakeover ask us to think about the value of our pubic space. It asks us to think about what we see and experience as we move through our city, and what we want to see. I think of it as an exercise in civic awareness and empowerment,” said Conrad Benner, creator of the popular blog Streets Dept, who’s been involved in both art campaigns.
Both projects come with a price—literally. #TrashcanTakeover cost around $10,000 for the ad space, and #TrackTakeover cost around $40,000 to rent the space for a month. City Fitness has financed both projects and artists have been paid for their work, Wingert said.
Check out some of the art pieces below:
- How a group of Philadelphians turned ads into art [Curbed Philly]