Philadelphia-Based Artist Selected for Public Art Commission at Parkway Central Library

By Kate C. Mon, January 30, 2017

The Free Library, along with the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy (OACCE)’s Percent for Art program, has announced a new site-specific public art commission to be carried out by Philadelphia-based public artist Colette Fu.

Fu’s commission is part of a $36 million major renovation taking place at the Parkway Central Library. First opened in 1927, the Parkway Central Library serves as the flagship location of the Free Library system, currently welcoming more than one million visitors each year.

As part of our ongoing Building Inspiration: 21st Century Libraries Initiative, the Free Library plans to renovate the stacks area of the Parkway Central Library, which will allow us to open up two floors—and tens of thousands of square feet—for public use. The renovation designs have been completed by Safdie Architects.

Fu’s work will include eight tunnel book dioramas, which will be installed in the bookshelves on either side of the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) and the Common areas. Each tunnel book will consist of four to six pieces of uniquely laser-cut acrylic, layered in a way that creates a complex and playful design between light and shadow. Inspiration for her work will stem from two primary sources: historical photos that Fu took of the removed stacks, and collaged imagery and words acquired through existing Library workshops, such as poetry slams and other community literary events.

For more information on Fu as well as the OACCE and its public art program, see the organization’s official release.  

Tunnel book rendering images courtesy of the artist
Tunnel book rendering images courtesy of the artist

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