For four weeks, from July 20 to August 19, 2018, a portion of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will be transformed into a grand promenade with the theme, More PARK, More PLAY as part of The Oval+. This year’s season of The Oval+ builds directly on the public feedback and data that Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation collected as part of 2017’s “What’s Your Parkway, Philly?” More than 40 percent of visitors said they wanted to see more family-related activities at The Oval+. This input, added to ongoing safety concerns about crossing multiple lanes of traffic, especially with small children, led the partners to build on the popularity of last year’s installations beyond the perimeter of Eakins Oval.
On opening night, July 20, for the first time, The Oval+ will feature performers from Philadelphia School of Circus Arts, one at each partially closed intersection, treating visitors to magician, hoop artist, juggler, and stilt walker from 6-9pm. The performances will conclude with a showing of “The Greatest Showman” at 9pm as the kick-off to Friday Food & Flicks. Also new this year: Silent Philly will distribute noise-cancelling headphones in the beer garden to allow visitors to observe activity at The Oval+ while enjoying great music. (Thursdays, July 26 and August 9, 8-11pm). 150 free tickets will be released for each event day at http://www.silentphilly.com. Check Oval social media for release date announcements.
ABOUT THE SPACE
For the second year in a row, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation have retained Philadelphia-based urban design firm PORT to develop the plan and installations for The Oval+. Each closed stretch of road (see details, below) will be graced by a large-scale ground mural designed and installed by Mural Arts Philadelphia with the award winning design and illustration studio The Heads of State. The goal for both Mural Arts and the design studio was to visually represent the idea of the Parkway being a unifying element between Fairmount Park and the city’s core. From kayaks on the Schuylkill to the soaring arches within the Wissahickon to the growing towers of Center City, each crosswalk illustrates the transition from park to city and back again.
To complement the expanded footprint of The Oval+, the Barnes Foundation will present an interactive outdoor installation, the Canopy at the Barnes, designed by SHIFTSPACE. The
installation will include a site-specific mesh canopy hung from the trees lining the Parkway in front of the Barnes. Offering abundant shade, the canopy will float above café-style seating open to all and lounge areas featuring inflatable furniture. To activate the space and welcome the community, there will be family-friendly games—including bocce ball—and every Thursday from July 19 through August 16, 11:30am–1:30pm, the Barnes will host “bring your own lunch” afternoons with live music from the Philadelphia Jazz Project. More details will be announced soon.
For the complete schedule, see theovalphl.org/events. All events are free.