Invigorating Civic Life

  • October 11, 2019

Editor’s Recommendation

In Philadelphia, a Wellspring for Artistic Creativity

by Tom Infield

February 4, 2019

Visitors tour the expansive new interactive digital wall at Philadelphia’s Independence Visitor Center. 

Philadelphia’s visitor center receives an upgrade

The Independence Visitor Center, a gateway to the Philadelphia region for 2.5 million visitors annually, completed a three-year, $15 million renovation to its building on Independence Mall in May. A new 42-foot-long digital touchscreen “concierge wall” allows patrons to search for area attractions, and a new cafe, expanded event space, and a larger gift shop help make the center more economically self-sufficient. The center’s changes aim to address the substantial increase in Philadelphia tourism from 27.7 million domestic visitors in 2001 to a record 45 million U.S. and international visitors in 2018. Pew helped establish the center in 2001 and supported its latest enhancements with a $500,000 grant in March 2017.

Pew arts fellows receive recognition  

The work of Pew Fellows in the Arts continues to reach national and international audiences. The documentary film of 2018 fellow Jonathan Olshefski, “Quest: A Portrait of an American Family,” which follows one Philadelphia family for nearly a decade, was nominated for a Peabody Award. The Peabody Awards recognize “the stories that matter” across TV, radio, and digital media. Other fellows currently showing in major international exhibitions include Alex Da Corte (2012) at the Venice Biennale, Tiona Nekkia McClodden (2016) at the Whitney Biennial, Camae Ayewa and Rasheedah Phillips (2017) at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Ryan Trecartin (2009) at Fondazione Prada in Milan, Sharon Hayes (2016) at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, and Geoff Sobelle (2006) and Jennifer Kidwell (2016) at the Hong Kong Arts Festival.