The City Hall Gallery is proud to present Miguelina Seijo's "Lancaster Street Style" featuring Lancaster residents and their impeccable sense of fashion. Seijo, not only captures the creativity and boldness of Lancaster residents, she also incorporates the creative and fun colored homes of the city. She is a Pennslyvania-based Brooklyn native artist who has photographed events in New York City and Philadelphia under the name "La Seijo shot me". Her work will be on display in Lancaster City Hall Gallery from now until January 30. Come see the vibrant and colorful pictures while they're here.
Inside Out Dreamers will be creating a temporary mural in Lancaster. We need residents of Lancaster to come out and show their support in solidarity with Dreamers!
Emerson Collective is partnering with Inside Out/Dreamers on a project to give communities a voice to show their support for Dreamers after the administration's decision to rescind DACA.
"Beyond any political debate about dreamers, these portraits remind us that behind the policies are real human stories that are deeply rooted in the story of this country. Inside Out/ Dreamers aims to represent the diversity and unity of people that can call America home. It is a nationwide participatory art initiative aimed at creating a portrait of America that includes immigrants and the descendants of immigrants alike."
The project of Inside Out began with award-winning artist JR who pays tribute to the power of individual people by posting their portraits around the world. Join us this Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 101 N Queen St!
Farnum Park will be renovated soon and Lancaster Public Art wants to integrate art into the landscape. The artist will be part of the design team and work to incorporate art into the stormwater management as well as to develop areas for interactive play of the landscape. The artist will work directly with the neighbors surrounding the park to engage them and ensure that their voices are heard throughout the process.
deadline: January 5, 2018 / 4pm EST
For more information and to submit an application, visit:
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to Lancaster Public Art manager, Joanna Davis Seedorf by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (717) 291-4829.
1. It doesn’t have to look like public art.
Thee days of bronze heroes and roundabout baubles are
numbered. Public art can take any form or mode of encounter.
Be prepared to be surprised, delighted, even unnerved.
2. It’s not forever.
Artists are shaking up the life expectancy of public artworks.
Places don’t remain still and unchanged, so why should public
3. Don’t make it for a community. Create a community.
Be wary of predefining an audience. As Brian Eno once said,
“sometimes the strongest single importance of a work of art is
the celebration of some kind of temporary community.”
4.Create space for the unplanned.
Commissioning public art is not a simple design-and-build
process. Artworks arrive through a series of accidents, failures
and experiments and open up the potential for unforeseen
things to happen.
5. Withdraw from the cultural arms race.
Towns and cities across the world are locked into a
one-size-fits-all style of public art. In a culture of globalized
brands and clone towns, we hanker after authentic, distinctive
places. If we are place-making, then let’s make unusual places.
6. Demand more than fireworks.
Believe in the quiet, unexpected encounter as much as the
magic of the mass spectacle. It’s often in the silence of a
solitary moment, rather than the exhilaration of whizzes and
bangs, that transformation occurs.
7. Don’t embellish. Interrupt.
We need smart urban design, uplifting street lighting and
landmark buildings, but public art can do so much more than
decorate. Interruptions to our surroundings or everyday
activities can open our eyes to new possibilities.
8. Share ownership freely, but authorship wisely.
Public art is of the people and made with the people, but not
always by the people. Artists are skilled creative thinkers as
well as makers, trust their judgment, follow their lead and
invest in their process.
9. Welcome outsiders.
Outsiders challenge our assumptions about what we believe to
be true of a place. Embrace the opportunity to see through an
10. Don’t waste time on definitions.
Is it sculpture? Is it visual art? Is it performance? Who cares.
There are more important questions to ask. Does it move you?
Does it shake up your perceptions of the world around you, or
your backyard? Does it make you curious to see more?
11. Suspend your disbelief.
Art gives us the chance to imagine alternative ways of living,
to disappear down rabbit holes, to live for a moment in a
different world. Local specifics might have been the stepping
off point – but public art is not a history lesson. Be prepared
that it might not always tell the truth.
12. Get lost.
Public art is neither a destination nor a way-finder. Artists
encourage us to follow them down unexpected paths as a
work unfolds. Surrender the guidebook, get off the art trail
and step into unfamiliar territory.
We are thrilled that the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts is honoring Pepón Osorio at the Governor's Awards for the Arts tonight. He is a a Latinx artist who works in a uniquely emphatic way towards social progress. Our little city has bee pulling out all the stops this past weeks to celebrate the awards being held here. Tickets are free. 7pm at the Marriott Convention Center in Penn Square. FB event page here.
Young middle school students from south-east Lancaster will be exploring the city like never before this upcoming October 25th. The tour, Public Art Walk, Be Public Art! will provide students with more knowledge and insight into the public art surrounding the community. In line with Lancaster Public Art's mission for community engagement, the tour will be conducted by older students who will provide information about the art alongside facilitating discussions about the work. Notable stops along the tour include the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the Ewell Gantz Mural, and some more! The goal is for students to take ownership of the public art in the community and hopefully foster a love of art in some if not all of the students.
The tour will run Wednesday, October 25th starting at 5:30 and will be approximately an hour and a half. The journey begins and ends at the Lancaster City Visitor Center. Bring a red shirt and join us on our excursion around the city!
From October 6 to November 28th Hohenadel’s latest work will be on display at the City Hall gallery. Hohenadel says the works are, “aimed to provoke the imagination, portray beauty, or encourage kindness to ourselves and others.” This can certainly be felt by looking at the whimsical animals and the inside look she gives of what lies beneath the surface of the soil. Hohenadel is not only a local artist here in Lancaster City; she is also a full-time high school art teacher working in the Warwick School district for 10 years. Lancaster Public Art is proud to have her work on display because her black and white paintings bring a liveliness to the City Hall gallery.
200 artists, 200 (10"x10") birch panels, no theme. One needs no experience or education in the arts to have submitted a panel to be included in Untitled Lancaster, an art show opening this Friday at Levengoods of Lancaster, and there is no curator to determine if the art should be hung. As a result, the show puts all of the work on equal ground. A novice painter might have work next to a renowned local artist.
Born from the success of Sunshine Art+Design’s original Untitled Lancaster show in 2015, organizer, Annie Kerekgyarto wanted to bring the city together again in celebration of the upcoming Governor’s Awards for the Arts. Kerekgyarto explained: “Sunshine Art+Design was created with the goal of providing opportunities for the surplus of artists in our community to share their talent, and in the process of sharing their talent, to have the opportunity to grow and learn as an artist through the experience and interaction with others in the community. During my journey as creator and curator of the gallery (2014-2016) there was only one show that achieved all of those goals. Untitled Lancaster, with its inclusivity, and appeal to experts, amateurs, students and children, truly gives our art community the opportunity to connect with each other, to learn from each other and to feel the joy of creating without any constraints or pressures. I am so thankful and excited that Lane Levengood, of Levengoods of Lancaster (now located in Sunshine Art+Design's former space) was willing to host Untitled Lancaster. It’s a dream come true to be able to bring our art community together, and raise funds for future Lancaster Public Art Projects at the same time.”
A portion of sales will go to Lancaster Public Art, a program of the City of Lancaster, that commissions public art projects with a focus on equality, livability and excellence. By creating meaningful collaborations that magnify Lancaster’s distinct sense of place through public artworks and engaged communities it is yet another path to highlighting the best our city has to offer. Public Art Manager, Joanna Davis Seedorf, explains, “Not enough city residents and stakeholders know about the public art program. It is focused on building a thriving community with individual and collective creative projects. We have a really exciting ten-year plan to work from that lays out five focus areas to help our neighborhoods thrive, not only through beautification, but also with creating viable pathways for communication and collaboration between neighborhoods, community organizations and the City. Art has a wonderful ability to approach social change and foster community problem solving that can expand policy and activism. It can allow people to think outside the box and breakdown social constraints.”
Lancaster Public Art is part of the City of Lancaster but has no budget of its own. Projects are funded on a case by case basis - through partnerships, grants and donations. Funds collected from Untitled Lancaster will go towards the Temporary Art Program (TAP), a new initiative from Lancaster Public Art that will assist local artists in making public art on city-owned property. The TAP program will assist them through the process to see their work through completion including identified potential community partners and funding sources as well as getting the right permits needed to insure that it will not be taken down by the city. “We want to empower the amazing creative talent that we have in Lancaster. This program will build local artist’s professionalism, give them important work for their resumes and help them get used to working through applications that can feel like red tape, but are necessary for an arts professional.”
Untitled Lancaster opens on First Friday, October 6th and will run through October 28th at Levengoods of Lancaster, 104 West King Street, Lancaster. There will be a special Governor’s Arts Awards happy hour at Levengoods on October 26th from 4-6pm before the awards ceremony.
Lancaster City’s Office of Public Art is pleased to present a special project and community walk event on Sunday August 6. Let the Record Show is a collaborative public art project by Matt Allyn Chapman, visual artist, and Caitlin Downs and Matthew Kabik, both writers. Let the Record Show (LTRS) is a direct response to The Lancaster Sound Map (LSM), a multi-faceted project revealing the diverse character of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Created by artist Stuart Hyatt, the LSM is intended to be a growing platform of free-use content, from which many creative projects may arise.
Using Hyatt’s project as a point of departure, LTRS brings together visual art, the written word, and audio documentation. Chapman has made a series of nine drawings based on walks that he, Kabik,and Downs took, embarking from nine locations in Lancaster County. Each walk was tracked and recorded using GPS, as if the hikers were the drawing tool and the landscape was their paper. The resulting “walk line” was then incorporated into each of Chapman’s nine pieces. Downs and Kabik have each written short stories and poems, which will accompany the drawings.
These drawings and writings will be printed and distributed to friends and collectors who are supporting the project. Additional portfolios will be available for purchase. The prints and stories will also be displayed in the Public Art Display Cases at the Lancaster Train Station. The exhibit was installed on July 18 and continue thru Jan 18, 2018.
To both celebrate the project, and share it with our Lancaster community, the artists have planned a special interactive event for Sunday August 6th. This Community Walk is free and open to the public. RSVP requested via Facebook Event page or by calling the Office of Public Art at 717-291-4829.
LET THE RECORD SHOW: A Response to the Lancaster Sound Map, along with Lancaster Public Art invite you to a free event full of inspiration and wonder. Please join visual artist Matt Allyn Chapman and writers Caitlin Downs & Matthew Kabik as they lead you on a guided walk through a portion of Lancaster City to our destination of Lancaster County Central Park. Once in the park they will be hosting two workshops meant to spark your creativity. Matt Chapman will be demonstrating how he creates exciting artworks inspired by items and observations he discovers while walking. Caitlin Downs and Matthew Kabik will also be demonstrating how these same inspirations can be used to create thoughtful writings, such as short stories and poems.
SUNDAY AUGUST 6, 1pm-5pm
MEETING LOCATION: Ewell Gantz Park, next to the Mix at Arbor Place, 520 North St, Lancaster, PA 17602
Approximately a 20 minute walk to the workshop site in Lancaster County Central Park.
WHAT TO BRING: While on our walk you may want to have a small notebook for sketching or writing down of ideas.
- A selection of pens, pencils, or markers to use while on the walk (materials for the workshops will be provided)
- A small bag for collection of items you find interesting or inspirational.
- Bottled water or a drink during the walk
CLOTHING: Participants will want to wear clothing that will be comfortable and will protect them from the outdoor conditions, suggested items may include hats, sunscreen, a lightweight jacket, or a poncho. Appropriate shoes for walking are encouraged. The event will be rain or shine so please plan accordingly.
WHAT TO GAIN: This event is designed to excite and educate participants on the importance of observation, as well as highlight the variety of interesting possible walking destinations within Lancaster City. The Workshops also provide an opportunity to take your observational skills further by creating a piece of artwork or create a story that is entirely your own! These Workshops will also serve as a starting point in which to grow these skills on your own and help take your ideas to new and wonderful places!
Lancaster Public Art is pleased to announce that two new projects will be created in response to the Lancaster Sound Map (LSM.) Thanks to funding from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, we are working with two teams of local artists to continue the exploration of identity in Lancaster, begun by artist, Stuart Hyatt, in 2014.
Lancaster Sound Map (LSM) is a multi-faceted project revealing the diverse character of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Visiting eight times over the course of a year, artist Stuart Hyatt walked through the city and county recording sounds, meeting people and taking photographs. His field recordings were placed on a simple interactive web-based map and gallery.
Hyatt collaborated with FIELD WORKS—a collective that explores place through recorded sound—to compose original music based on LSM. The album, Born in the Ear, unravels in an epic walk, unearthing diverse stories, revealing a deeper sense of place, overlapping patterns of rural and urban, past and future.
Hyatt sought out and collaborated with many local artists: illustrator, author, middle-school-aged spoken word poets, community chorus, percussion group, director. Enriching not only the project, but also our creative community.
LSM is intended to be a growing platform of free-use content, from which many creative projects may arise.
Through a request for proposals (RFP) and juried selection process, two concepts were chosen. Following are brief project descriptions and links to learn more about the artists. The results of both of these projects will be displayed publicly this summer. Stay tuned for more details!
- The Mix at Arbor Place and Modern Art will work together to offer local youth the opportunity to create public art pieces that instigate cross-community conversation. This project embraces a desire to help students translate day-to-day experiences, such as eavesdropping or a loud muffles car backfire, into works of visual art that can be shared. Students will model their own creative processes after Stuart Hyatt's methodical approach to exploring the play between place and human activity.
- Visual artist Matt Allyn Chapman will make a series of nine drawings based on walks that he and writers Caitlin Downs and Matthew L. Kabik will embark on from nine locations in Lancaster City & County. Each walk will be tracked and recorded with GPS. The GPS-mapped line of their walks will be integrated into Chapman’s drawings. Downs and Kabik will write short stories in response to their walks. The collaborative project will also include audio documentation and a print series created in the size and format of a vinyl record.
This project is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Lancaster Public Art is pleased to announce a new Request for Proposals (RFP.) Lancaster Sound Map (LSM) Artist Stipends are available to individual artists or artist groups to support the creation of new work inspired by the Lancaster Sound Map. The purpose is to support the concept of the LSM as a “growing platform” from which many creative projects may arise.
Two stipends will be awarded and the selected projects will be presented in Lancaster, PA at an appropriate venue, no later than Aug. 31, 2017.
Lancaster Public Art will co-host an interactive Info Session about this project on January 23 from 7 - 9 p.m. at Modern Art - 529 West Chestnut, Lancaster, PA. Artists should plan to attend this Open Studio Info Session to learn more about the project, listen to the full Lancaster Sound Map album, brainstorm ideas, ask questions and even begin the application process. RSVP by calling or emailing Heidi Leitzke 717-291-4829 or email@example.com or via FB Event https://www.facebook.com/events/1505409919488314/
Complete Application and Support Materials should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Application Deadline is February 22, 2017
Questions and Contact:
Public Art Manager | City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
120 North Duke Street, Lancaster, PA 17608-1599
For the past few years, Lafayette Elementary School Principal Wanda Suarez, Sally Jarvis and other community partners have been working to transform a 15-foot-high retaining wall facing the playground. The decaying wall was an eyesore, in need of repair. The Lafayette Mural Committee*, commissioned artist Ophelia Chambliss to work with Lafayette Elementary students to create a stunning new mural to spruce up the previously dreary wall. Ophelia and committee decided that a student inspired collaborative mural painted on mural fabric and installed on the wall would be the most vibrant, effective, and sustainable way to celebrate the diversity and strength of the community.
After years of planning and hard work, the mural was installed today and Ophelia's vision came to life. Prior to today's mural installation, the entire wall was repaired and painted a neutral grey. The committee, Ophelia, students, and teachers volunteered to work with the artist to install the mural panels.
The mural has 5 beautiful panels featuring the following themes; seasons, animals, musical instruments, transporation, and floral still-lives. Students actually painted on some of the panels, while others were painted by the professional, though inspired by the student's original work. To say that each panel captures an important aspect of the community's diversity would be an understatement of the truth.
The mural committee is planning an unveiling ceremony in September, to coincide with Lafayette's birthday and a back to school celebration.
Well done Ophelia and the Lafayette Mural Committee! The Office of Public Art is proud to have been a small part in this project. We know students will love it for years to come!
Public Art intern
*The committee is made up of:
Sally Jarvis, Community Volunteer
Wanda Suarez, Lafayette School Principal
Vincent Baker, Art Teacher (retired)
Wesley Blymire, Art Teacher
Tracy Beyl, Public Art Manager, City of Lancaster (2013-2015)
Heidi Leitzke, Public Art Manager, City of Lancaster
Cindy Morris, Community Volunteer
Dennis LaPorte, Director of Facilities, SDoL
Michael Slechta, Coordinator for Music, Art, Humanities & 21st century Skills, SDoL
Barbara Lombardo, Development Coordinator SDoL
Evelyn Arrocho, Lafayette parent
This past Wednesday May 25th, the new Martin Luther King Jr Wading Pool and the fence, Moving in the Right Direction, were unveiled to the public during a ribbon cutting and dedication.
Members of the public, the planning committee, City Council, students at MLK Elementary School, and the Mayor all gathered in the warm sun to celebrate this wonderful project. After speeches from Charlotte Katzenmoyer, Natalie Lascek, Béatrice Coron, and Mayor Gray, the ribbon was cut and students flooded the now-dry pool for refreshments and conversation.
It was a joy to watch the city and the public come together to celebrate this revitalizing project. We can't wait for the pool to open in June when the new fence will get a chance to really shine.
This project was funded by generous donations from the public. To see a list of donors click here.
- Elizabeth Wood, Public Art Intern
Join us to hear Béatrice Coron speak about her artwork, specifically “Moving in the Right Direction” the public art to be installed at the MLK Jr Pool on South Duke Street in Lancaster, PA. She also will speak to local artists who are interested in learning how to transition their work from the studio to the public realm during a Q&A time.
Béatrice Coron Artist Talk
Tuesday May 10, 2016
Ware Center, 3rd Floor Salon
42 North Prince Street
Lancaster, PA 17603
A Record Release Party.
A Live Performance.
A Photo Exhibition.
The Lancaster Sound Map is a multi-faceted Public Art project by artist Stuart Hyatt, exploring the diverse character of Lancaster County. Discover overlapping patterns of rural and urban, past and future. Visiting eight times over the course of a year in a variety of seasons, Hyatt walked through the city and county recording sounds and photographing the people he met. These sounds were incorporated into a set of nine songs. These songs form a record.
Celebrate at two great events!
Thursday May 5, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Record Release and Preview Party for Born in the Ear, featuring a one-of-a-kind performance by the artist and the premier of a short film. Unraveled in an epic walk, the album unearths the diverse and layered stories of our city and county, weaving them into nine original music compositions. Reservations requested, please visit web site for more information, or to reserve your seat go to our EventBrite page, here.
Friday May 6, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Lancaster Sound Map, An Exhibition at the City of Lancaster Visitor Center
On view will be photographs taken as the artist walked through our city and county with an audio field recorder, microphone, and camera. The resulting sounds and images were placed in a simple interactive web-based sound map and gallery, and inspired the creation of the album, Born In the Ear.
Listening stations will be set up at both events and the albums will be available for $10 during this weekend only.
Mr. Hyatt is a musician who over the last decade has developed projects that explore community identity through collaborative creative action. His work covers a wide range of media and involves hundreds of unlikely collaborators, yet each project begins with a deep commitment to narrative and place. He is a composer, designer, and public artist who seeks to create memorable, evocative work that follows a rigorous conceptual framework yet presents itself through simple pop and folk aesthetics.
Lancaster’s City Hall building is a lot of things: a beautiful example of our city’s historic architecture. Conveniently located downtown near plenty of places I can buy coffee - home to our awesome city officials. But did you know that City Hall is also home to an art gallery?
When the City Hall Annex was finished in 2014, The City decided to set aside space on the first floor to feature rotating exhibits by local artists. The fact that the Gallery exists at all really shows the City’s commitment to supporting Lancaster’s arts scene. Anyone interested in being featured is welcome to submit a sample of their work and an artist’s statement, and anyone at all interested in art is welcome to come and check out the Gallery. If I were you, I would make a point of doing that soon, because you don’t want to miss the current exhibit “Home,” by long-time Lancaster arts-force Angie Hohenadel.
“Home” is an exhibit of prints and paint-and-ink renderings and reimagining’s of Lancaster. The colors muted, the lines playful, Hohenadel chiefly builds houses and plants into the exhibit’s key motifs. The homes evoke a quiet, domestic life, while the gardens and plants represent growth in its general form, good or bad, organic or unnatural. The cityscapes Hohenadel depicts are completely free of people. We see the containers of human life, but not the humans. In dwelling purely upon these dwelling-spaces, then, the viewer is left with their own meditations, their own memories, nostalgia, and ideas of the future, to make Hohenadel’s houses feel like “Home.”
I, Office of Public Art intern (alas, for only a week longer), was lucky enough to take in the whole City Hall Gallery experience from soup to nuts. That is, from taking down the old exhibit—a really stellar series of photographs taken by Lancaster Country Day students from a class trip to Rome—to arranging, hanging, and eventually hosting the First Friday reception of, Angie’s exhibit. I helped Tracy Beyl, our Public Art Manager to the stars, Angie, and the City carpenter Lee Smith (yes, we have a City carpenter) install “Home” on the first of July.
I’m an American Studies major, reader, and I had never worked in an art gallery before. I had never even considered I would ever work in an art gallery. That’s not out of any opposition to galleries, of course, just more of a polite awareness that I was never really meant for them, perhaps the same way I innately understood to stay away from athletics after I got a concussion in marching band. But from one relative civilian in the art world to another, I’m going to let you in on something about galleries. I am here to tell you that galleries are WORK. You may stroll along a wall of glassy, perfectly-level paintings freely, blissful and arrogant in your ignorance, but I? I will never take those meticulously-spaced frames for granted again. You do not know how much math, measuring, and patience go into each one of those spaces, trust me.
But the mathematics aside, I can’t stress how enjoyable it was to be a part of the City Hall Gallery. Getting to help out with “Home”— meeting Angie and being seriously impressed, informing Lee while he hung the paintings that they were crooked, doing very little to fix that problem myself, getting to look oh-so-professional at the opening reception in July—was such a treat. I’m lucky I got this crash-course. I’m grateful I got to have this experience.
The City Hall Gallery shows rotate every two months. “Home” is going to stay up until September, so August is your chance to take in this killer exhibit and treat yourself. Remember, the Gallery is free and open to all on every First Friday, and there’s even a reception where you can meet great artists like Angie, eat some cookies, and enjoy the general aura of good, arty vibes here. Next time you’re downtown, experience this great exhibit for yourself, and see just one bit of what makes our City Hall—and really, our city—so cool.
Hi, my name is Erin Moyer, and I have the best internship in the world. This summer, I get to work as intern with the Office of Public Art and just sort of revel in all of the good work this office has done. Lancaster City features over 70 different pieces of public art. We’re talking murals, sculptures, statues, and interactive pieces, all featured in Lancaster’s streets and parks for all of Lancaster to enjoy. And what better way to take in all of Lancaster’s sights than by touring them for yourself? At least, that’s how I put together the concept behind this blog post. I decided to leave my beloved office/converted closet in City Hall, put on some sneakers, and take on one of Lancaster City’s Public Art tours.
First things first, I would advise you check the weather forecast before setting off on your own public art adventure. I make a point of writing this here, because that is precisely what I did not do before undertaking my own. I took my first tour on one of those especially charming summer days in which the weather veers wildly between two extremes and you need sunscreen and an umbrella within twenty minutes of each other. I approached this circumstance by, quite astutely, bringing neither of those things. I regretted this decision right about when I got sunburned. And I really regretted this decision when I got caught in a thunderstorm. So learn from my mistakes, and my still-soaked sneakers, and plan ahead.
You can find directions for the four Lancaster City Public Art Tours at visitlancastercity.com/artwalkingtours/. All of the tours are independent and self-guided, and you can choose whichever may suit you; I myself chose the aptly-titled Downtown Tour #1, because it would let me walk and explore downtown Lancaster even more. The Office of Public Art has also put together tours that will take you through Lancaster’s public parks, and even along a route from the Amtrak train station into downtown. Whichever tour works for you, follow the map, take a camera, and enjoy Lancaster!
1. Binns Park Iron Fence
Downtown Tour #1 kicks off with the Binns Park Iron Fence. I read my checklist, and I pause. I’ve been to Binns Park before, of course; I have eaten many a food truck catered-feast here on First Fridays. How have I never seen this Iron Fence? Where even is this Iron Fence? I prowl around for a bit, and soon, I spot it. The Fence is right along the park wall on Queen Street, and it’s such a subtle, well-integrated part of the landscape that maybe you’ve missed it, too. The fence, designed by local artisan Dan Alexander is hand-crafted wrought iron, molded and twisted into wavy, organic shapes. The wrought iron really complements the brick of the park wall, and the design of the iron goes along with the lovely Binns Park gardens, now in full bloom. What a nice way to add some creativity into fencing! Duly charmed, I trek on.
2. Binns Park Fountain
The second stop on the tour is the Binns Park Fountain, and unlike the Iron Fence of Binns Park, it would be hard to miss this one: this is the coolest fountain in the world, or at least, as I am prepared to argue, in downtown Lancaster. The Fountain in Binns Park is computer-controlled and interactive. It moves as you move, shooting water up from the ground and at whoever is around to trigger it. Like so many other terrific pieces of public art in Lancaster, this fountain is meant to be played with and enjoyed. And as I walk through the park on a sweltering 92-degree day, there can be no question that the piece is really being enjoyed: children are running around in the water, laughing, splashing, and playing as their parents look on from the shady Binns Park Stage Canopy (more on this piece later!). I am so charmed by their joy, so happy the fountain can be here for this community, and above all so, so bitter that I am an adult and do not also get to play in fountain. I wipe the sweat from my brow, and I trek on.
3. Architectural Fragments
Ever seen the pieces of the large stone pillar lying along the left side of Binns Park? They are not, as I have often maintained, remnants of an ancient Grecian temple. Actually, the stone was salvaged from the Farmers First Bank building, which sat at the current location of the park. The architect of the park thought it might be neat to incorporate some of the old into the new, and worked the architectural pieces into his design. The fragments, now worn and surrounded in ivy, add something of a historic aura to Binns Park
4. Binns Park Stage Canopy
What a salvation the Binns Park Stage Canopy is on a sunny day. The overhang is a piece of what may be termed “functional art:” its architecture adds some art into the city, and it still fulfills some function. The Stage Canopy, another creation by Dan Alexander, is the perfect place to take a coffee break, eat lunch outside, or even just get out of the sun for a little while. I know I, having barely made a dent in my tour and already exhausted, took a long break there. Thank you for the shelter, Binns Park Stage Canopy. I owe you one.
5. Bike Rack
If you turn down Marion Street off of Duke, you’ll be in for a neat surprise: two artfully-constructed bike racks by local sculptor Jeremy Waak, a bit of the Lancaster landscape as subtle as that Binns Park Iron Fence, sit beside City Hall. The angular design inside of the curved bike racks was actually inspired by the old, arch-shaped windows adorning the original City Hall. We’re killing several birds with one stone here: encouraging eco-friendly commuting, adding even more creativity to the city landscape, and adding a little note of Lancaster history into the mix? I am impressed, and I trek on.
6. I Sculpture
Just across the street from City Hall, you’ll find the Lancaster Public Library and next stop on the Downtown Tour: I Sculpture. This piece is the perfect thing to have right outside of a library: part of the Poetry Path, a really cool initiative to integrate poetry into the downtown Lancaster landscape, the sculpture features a wide, steel bench, and an Emily Dickinson poem die-cut out of metal. Depending on where the sun is in the sky, the text of the poem even makes shadows on the sidewalk. I find this fascinating. I read the text of the poem, and it really fits its literary home. Read for yourself:
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
With the meaning of the poem and its bench, I Sculpture strikes me as the perfect thing to have in front of a library; it’s a great meeting place, a memorable, distinctive community feature, and yet another cool, arty addition to the Lancaster streetscape.
Next up, the Downtown Tour #1 takes you to Musser Park. I’ve actually only been to Musser Park once before this, and that was an accident that involved me being terribly lost. I have to say, I enjoy my return trip much more. It’s very peaceful inside the park today, and the trees are so shady and lovely I cannot stand it. As you walk into Musser Park, you’ll see the next stop on the tour: a sculpture titled Embrace. Constructed out of welded metal, the abstract, yellow piece is so named because it seems to resemble a figure, arms extended, almost seeming to wait for an embrace. The modern sculpture by local artist Joshua Henschel really plays against the rolling, green terrain of the park.
8. The Lancaster Rose
If you keep following the path through Musser Park, you’ll come to a charming stone landing. What better way to accent all of the bucolic vibes than with a red rose, symbol of Lancaster? The next piece on the tour, the Lancaster Rose, is all that its name would suggest: it’s an eight-foot tall, powder-coated Red Rose, done up in bright, bold colors that pop against its dark, leafy backdrop. I love this sculpture, I really do: I love the incorporation of the Lancaster City symbol into a Lancaster City Park, and I love the idea of bringing a super-sized, metallic sculpture of a natural element into nature itself. Bravo, Lancaster Rose. Bravo Dan Witmer for creating this beautiful sculpture.
The third and final sculpture of Musser Park is a tall, tall piece entitled Echo by Elizabethtown College Professor Milt Friedly. It’s made up of bronze circles, stacked in alternating patterns into one long, thin column. The look of the sculpture seems to move and change depending on your vantage point, and its height adds quite a bit to the Musser Park landscape. And, neither here nor there, but while I was at this sculpture, I met a lovely older man who allowed me to pet not just one, but both of his dogs. That’s what we in the Public Art world call a win-win.
10. Eastern Market Mural
The Eastern Market Mural, situated fittingly at the site of the old Eastern Market, depicts a community coming together and enjoying Market Day. It’s painted in bright colors with big, bold strokes, and it really seems to fit its home in the East Side neighborhood. For a still-life mural, it strikes me as lively. This is just one of many beautiful murals done by Two Dudes Painting Company.
11. Eastern Market Bench
In a feat of one-stop public art shopping, the next stop on my tour, the Eastern Market Bench, lies right on the other side of the Eastern Market Mural. The bench is a long, white construction, with wings extending from either side and a poem by Pablo Neruda engraved into its surface. The bench is a resting place, a meeting point, and distinctive feature in the East Side neighborhood. I have also read that, rumor has it, this bench also lights up at night. I have yet to see it for myself, but I am actually pretty excited about to check it out.
12. Grant Street Mural
As is the Eastern Market Mural, the Grant Street Mural is yet another colorful capturing of Lancaster City life. In a style inspired by Charles Demuth’s paintings, this piece by Karen Hunt focuses on depicting Lancaster’s local architecture and treasured historical buildings. It’s tucked away on Grant Street, and makes for a vibrant, colorful point in the community.
13. Christopher Columbus Memorial
Ah, the Christopher Columbus Memorial. We meet again, old friend. I cannot tell you on how many other occasions I have tried to find this memorial, a bronze bust of the famed explorer, and how on every last occasion, I failed. I failed pitifully. I’m really not sure why this has been such a problem for me, to be honest; the piece is on Lenox Avenue, right off of Grant Street. But just as Christopher Columbus (basically) discovered the Western Hemisphere with the grit and persistence so typical of the American character, so too, did I—after my boss gave me directions—finally discover his memorial. This was a big moment, perhaps on par with Columbus’ discovery itself. The memorial is a distinctively rendered sculpture by ART owner Becky Ault, and well worth the visit.
14. Soldiers and Sailors Monument
Unlike my experience with the Christopher Columbus Memorial, it’s tricky not to notice the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. This statue is the very last stop of the Downtown Tour #1, and it’s the perfect way to bring the tour to a close. The Monument, lying right at the very heart of Penn Square—and really, all of Downtown Lancaster—is a 43-foot-tall Gothic Revival memorial. Though it was originally erected to pay tribute to Union Soldiers of Lancaster who fought in the Civil War, it has since been updated to honor all American troops in subsequent military conflicts. If it’s a Market Day when you take your tour, as it so fortunately was for me, go right into Central Market and enjoy yet another great part of our city. I myself went in, immediately sat at one of the tables, and drank three iced teas in half an hour. I wouldn’t have wanted the tour to end in any other way.
The explicitly-named Downtown Tour #1 was a great way to see Lancaster and appreciate only a fraction of its extensive public art collection. And Central Market was a great way to revive myself after. Rain or shine—and believe me, I got both rain and shine—I would totally recommend it. Take this tour (or any Public Art tour, for that matter) and make a day of enjoying Lancaster. Happy exploring!