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Philadelphia's new "Park on the Parkway" returns for its second season
Magic Carpet. Photo: Mensh. Courtesy aPA.
PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Oval, Philadelphia’s new “Park on the Parkway”, returned to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway for its second summer of outdoor fun featuring free programming, events, and activities for all ages from July 16 through August 17. Visitors will experience another world at The Oval with the unveiling of a new creative theme and artwork, Magic Carpet by artist Candy Coated (formerly Candy Depew), commissioned by the Association for Public Art.

A partnership between Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy, The Oval was created in 2013 in effort to engage the 70,000+ Philadelphians that live within a ten-minute walk of Eakins Oval, providing an opportunity to eat, play and relax in the eight-acre open air park. By transforming the surface parking lot into a hip, urban oasis, The Oval served as a place to connect and unify the attractions and surrounding neighborhoods, thus drawing in more than 27,000 visitors in six weeks.

“As one of the first exciting outcomes of our “More Park Less Way” plan for the Parkway, The Oval has become a wonderful new asset for our park system and those neighborhoods that are adjacent to the site,” said Deputy Mayor/Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis.

“Last year’s inaugural season of The Oval exceeded our wildest expectations, truly becoming a place for people of all ages and backgrounds to gather and enjoy a unique park experience,” said Kathryn Ott Lovell, Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. “We’re thrilled to announce its return this year, along with a new theme and programing that will further activate this important park space.”

Commissioned by the Association for Public Art, artist Candy Coated will transform the space into a magical environment of color, pattern, illusion and movement with Magic Carpet. The Philadelphia-based multimedia artist brings together installation art and exuberant designs, as well as other whimsical and unique attractions including 3-D illusion art and brilliantly colored sandboxes. The site has been arranged into five areas, each with a different attraction, experience and function, unified by the overall Magic Carpet theme.

“We welcome the opportunity to incorporate Magic Carpet at The Oval this year, continuing the longstanding tradition of public art on the Parkway,” said Penny Balkin Bach, Executive Director of the Association for Public Art.

The pilot season of The Oval in 2013 was supported by a one-time grant from the William Penn Foundation. This year, the Fairmount Park Conservancy has secured several corporate sponsors which are helping to bring The Oval to life for its full second season. PNC is the lead sponsor for The Oval. BMW of the Main Line, Mini of the Main Line, Godshall’s Quality Meats, Ride the Ducks, The Granary and Greater Media are also sponsors.

“The Oval is quickly transforming into a prized communal space, offering people opportunities to volunteer, have fun, learn, and discover new things each day,” said Jean Canfield, director of client and community relations for Philadelphia-Southern New Jersey, PNC. “We are proud to be a lead sponsor supporting the Oval and look forward to celebrating the summer season with our neighbors and showcasing the city at its best.”

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