Invigorating Civic Life

  • June 15, 2018

The Pew Charitable Trusts applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and invigorate civic life, as these recent accomplishments illustrate.

Pew Project: Philadelphia Research Initiative

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Pedicab operators weave their lantern-decorated cycles in choreographed movements for the grand opening of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s work “Fireflies,” a colorful public installation that celebrated the centennial of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Crafted by hand, the lanterns are shaped like space aliens, rocket ships, pandas, emojis, orbs, and stars.

The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage-funded projects debut

  • Opera Philadelphia’s inaugural 12-day “O 17” festival in September turned the city into an urban stage with performances at iconic places, including Independence Mall and the Barnes Foundation. The 31 performances drew many visitors from outside the region: “30 percent of festival package buyers, or those who purchased two or more festival operas, live more than 70 miles outside of Philadelphia,” according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. The event received extensive positive media coverage.
  • The Association for Public Art’s “Fireflies,” a large-scale, interactive work by internationally acclaimed Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, commemorated the centennial of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway, also in September.
  • In another September cultural landmark for the city, the Franklin Institute brought new, augmented reality experiences to visitors with “Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor,” an exhibition including 10 life-sized statues constructed in China more than 2,000 years ago and more than 160 artifacts such as weapons, gold ornaments, and ceremonial vessels. Philadelphia was the only East Coast city on the exhibit’s tour.