City of Philadelphia: Community Engagement Underway for Maplewood Mall
August 27, 2021
PHILADELPHIA – More and more public art is coming to Maplewood Mall in Germantown.
Germantown artist Kate Kaman will design and install community-driven public art to complete the mall’s reconstruction. Kaman started community engagement to invite local residents to contribute to the project.
The art will be on the headstones of the headquarters wall at the Greene Street end of the mall. It will be terrazzo with brass inlays.
The design will include images of flowers and plants recommended by Germantown residents. Residents can submit suggestions and images online or in person. Paper survey forms are available in stores in shopping centers. The investigation will end on September 6.
“The specific images of the artwork will be determined by the contribution of the community,” said Kaman, whose studio is on Germantown Ave. “It is an opportunity for me to collect memories, preferences and the story of the neighbors about plants and flowers that I would like ‘I cannot know for myself.”
Community input has already informed the design. As part of previous community engagement, residents identified neighborhood history, change, gentrification, and inclusion as themes they wanted art to address. Residents also had the opportunity to review, rate and comment on the six semi-finalists’ submissions to determine which one they felt was best suited for the site.
The artwork will help make the square a welcoming place for community activities. The square’s design supports informal gatherings as well as performances, festivals, and neighborhood parties.
The Maplewood Mall Committee selected Kaman from among 53 artists who responded to a request for qualification. The committee included area residents and artists, mall business owners and City employees involved in the mall redesign.
“In three words, Kate’s design is powerful, stylish and community-driven,” said Yinka Orafidiya, local resident and artist in social practice. “I have no doubts that this facility will help liven up the mall and reinvigorate it as a vibrant gathering place for the Germantown community. We deserve beauty.
Art making will begin in fall 2021. Installation is expected to be completed in spring 2022.
The installation is the final component of the reconstruction of the Maplewood Shopping Center. The $ 3.3 million project included a new water pipe, brick road, trees, bike racks, seating, landscaping and garbage cans. The reconstruction of the shopping center was completed in the fall of 2020.
About Kate Kaman: Kate Kaman is an American artist who resides in Germantown. She has spent the last decade of her career focusing on creating architecturally focused, site-specific artwork across the country, working alongside community members, engineers and d ‘architects. Kaman’s specialties include permanent outdoor artwork, hanging atrium sculptures, and decorative surfaces of public spaces.
About the percentage for art: The city of Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to adopt programs requiring public art for new developments using public resources. The city and the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority (PRA) launched the Percent for Art programs in 1959. Together, the programs have commissioned more than 650 works of public art in city neighborhoods.
This press release was produced by the City of Philadelphia. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.