The Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) is the nation's first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning. Founded in 1872, the Association commissions, preserves, promotes, and interprets a significant collection of public art in Philadelphia. With Center support, the Association for Public Art (aPA) launched Museum Without Walls™ in 2009, a program of audio "labels" for more than 60 works in the collection, accessible by cell phone. The Center also supported aPA's follow-up efforts to engage audiences in online dialogues utilizing social media and smart phone technologies, and to develop strategies responding to advances in digital media. In 2015, aPA received Center support to commission internationally recognized artist Cai Guo-Qiang to create Fireflies, an interactive public artwork of 27 luminous, kinetic sculptures inspired by Chinese pedicycles.
The Association for Public Art (aPA), with guest curator Lance Fung of Fung Collaboratives, commissioned internationally recognized, Chinese contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang to create an interactive public artwork of 27 "fireflies"—luminous, kinetic sculptures inspired by Chinese pedicycles—which thousands of Benjamin Franklin Parkway visitors experienced in motion as carriage passengers, pedestrians, and motorists in fall 2017. Known around the world for his "explosion events," Fireflies was Cai’s largest public art project in the US in a decade, presented on the occasion of the Parkway’s centennial. Working with guest curator Lance Fung and Fung Collaboratives, Cai's sculptures were inspired by the traditional lanterns frequently displayed in public spaces and private homes during festivals in the artist's hometown of Quanzhou, China.
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*