During my summer “staycation” a few weeks back, I trekked out to the Abington Art Center in Jenkintown, just northwest of the City, to meet a couple of dear friends. A.M. and Robin were on assignment to review artwork featured in Abington’s Sculpture Park and they let me tag along. (In all honesty, it was more of a journey for them because they had to hire a car from West Philly, whereas I only had to drive out from Mt. Airy, which is just a stone’s throw away. In any case, I had never been there before, so I’m just gonna claim the whole “trek” thing.)
Housed at the former home of Sears & Roebuck heir, philanthropist, businessman and art collector Lessing J. Rosenwald, the Art Center and its Sculpture Park sit on 27 gorgeous, landscaped and wild acres. The Center is in the midst of a $4.4 million transformation that will make it more accessible and add new sculpture. What’s there now is an eclectic mix of nearly two dozen installations that are intended to return to nature over time. I’m told that over time and depending upon the season, each piece takes on a different character. Among my favorites are (top to bottom below): Jeanne Jaffe’s bronze and steel Field of Forms, which echoes human biology; Sylvia Benitez’s Hatshepsut, 2008, an ethereal, harp-like bamboo structure; and its near neighbor, Alison Stigora’s Mazzoroth , a burnt wood sculpture that curves invitingly into the woods.
Jaffe and Stigora are among a number of artists based in or near Philadelphia, including Mei-ling Hom, Mara Scrupe, Jay Walker, Lonnie Graham, and Caroline Lathan-Stiefel. By the way, the title quote above is from an anonymous chalk artist – perhaps one of the summer campers who got to spend a week or more in the midst of these inspiring works of art. [Place your cursor over any image to pause the slideshow and scroll through at your own pace.]