Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO
An interpretive audio tour with 35 stops along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Kelly Drive
Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO is a multi-platform, interactive audio tour, designed to allow locals and visitors alike to experience Philadelphia’s extensive collection of public art and outdoor sculpture along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Kelly Drive. This innovative program invites passersby to stop, look, listen and see this city’s public art in a new way. Discover the untold histories of the 51 outdoor sculptures at 35 stops through these professionally produced three-minute interpretive audio segments. The many narratives have been spoken by more than 100 individuals, all with personal connections to the pieces of art.
Works in Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO include the sculpture Jesus Breaking Bread, which is located in front of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul at 18th and Race Streets. The sculpture’s audio program features the voices of three people who are each intimately, yet distinctly, connected to the piece. Listeners can hear Martha Erlebacher, the wife of the now-deceased sculptor and an artist herself, recall the personal challenge Walter Erlebacher set to humanize the figure. Monsignor John Miller, who oversaw the commission of the sculpture for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, discusses the artist’s confrontation with historic interpretation, and Sister Mary Scullion, who runs the renowned program for the homeless in Philadelphia, Project H.O.M.E., and who also attended the sculpture dedication as a student, talks about the importance of placing the figure outside of the church.
In the audio program for the sculpture Iroquois, listeners will hear a first-person account from Mark di Suvero, the artist himself, who discusses the abstract sculpture and its open shapes that invite public interaction and viewing from multiple angles. “I think that in order to experience [Iroquois] … you have to walk in through the piece, you have to have it all the way around you and at that moment, you can feel what that sculpture can do,” says di Suvero. Lowell McKegney, di Suvero’s construction manager and longtime friend, compares the sculpture to music and encourages listeners to appreciate it in the same way.
Philadelphia has more outdoor sculpture than any other American city, yet this extensive collection often goes unnoticed. This program is intended to reveal the distinct stories behind each of these works, that have become visual white noise for so many of the city’s residents and visitors.
The three-minute audio segments are free to access and available through a number of mediums. You can download the audio, stream it live from the Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO website, get a mobile app or call 215-399-9000 from your cell phone.