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Fun and engaging art for everyone

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Famous East Steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps

T. Scheid for GPTMC

Diana

Diana

Artwork, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens

On view at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Iroquois by Mark di Suvero

Iroquois

Artwork, by Mark di Suvero

On view at Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The Thinker at the Rodin Museum

The Thinker

Artwork, by Auguste Rodin

On view at Rodin Museum

The Barnes Totem by Ellsworth Kelly

The Barnes Totem

Artwork, by Ellsworth Kelly

On view at Barnes Foundation Garden

On view at The Barnes Foundation

Seated Couple by the Dogon peoples at the Barnes Foundation.

Seated Couple

Artwork, by The Dogon peoples

On view at The Barnes Foundation

Paint Torch by Claes Oldenburg at PAFA's Lenfest Plaza

Paint Torch

Artwork, by Claes Oldenburg

On view at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Swann Memorial Fountain on Logan Circle.

Swann Memorial Fountain

Artwork, by Alexander Stirling Calder

On view at Logan Circle

Sister Cities Park

Sister Cities Park

Center City District

LOVE statue by Robert Indiana.

LOVE Statue

Artwork, by Robert Indiana
Massive dominos as part of Your Move

Your Move

Artwork, by Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis and Roger White

On view at Municipal Services Building plaza

Description

While taking your family to see art can be an enriching experience, all that grownup stuff can sometimes leave kids feeling left out. In this tour we highlight art works that are sure to be fun, engaging—even educational—for your entire family.

Starting at the top of the famed Benjamin Franklin Parkway, families can climb the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s “Rocky Steps,” head inside to see a larger-than-life sculpture of a Roman goddess, and then stroll the approximately one-mile arts corridor making stops to ponder an abstract, orange twisted steel beam sculpture, examine a sky-scraping totem, and feel the spray of the water at a famous fountain, among others. Venturing just off the Parkway offers a chance to see a real crystal ball, a 51-foot paintbrush, the iconic LOVE statue, and much more.

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Stops

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Philadelphia Museum of Art Steps

Leading up to the main entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the country’s third largest museum, are 72 stone steps. Opened in 1928, the museum’s three linked buildings and its grand steps were designed by Julian Abele and modeled after the Greek temples he saw while traveling. Today, the steps are affectionately known as the “Rocky Steps,” after the Oscar-winning movie Rocky in which the main character famously climbs them. While the grand stairway isn’t the only way to enter this majestic temple of art and view its vast collections, many visitors often take it just to mimic Rocky’s climb.

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Diana

Perched atop the staircase in the Great Hall at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is Augustus Saint-Gaudens Diana. Though the graceful, 14-foot statue makes reference to the Roman goddess of the hunt, her athleticism and elongated shape are thoroughly modern. Diana is used to being put on a pedestal, as Saint-Gaudens originally created her as a weathervane for the second Madison Square Garden in New York City. Atop the Stanford White-designed building she towered as the highest point in the city until the structure was demolished in 1925 and she was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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The Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA

Iroquois

Some artists like to use a paintbrush. Abstract expressionist sculptor Mark di Suvero likes to use a crane. The monumental Iroquis is crafted of red steel I-beams that are indicative of the artist’s passion for using industrial materials and tools. The 40-foot sculpture features open spaces that invite you to view it from multiple angles and to actively participate. Iroquis is one of many di Suvero works made of steel and that required a crane to create.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 22nd Street Philadelphia, PA 19101

The Thinker

Possibly one of the most imitated sculpture positions of all time, French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker depicts a seated man resting his chin on his hand in deep meditation. The iconic bronze adorns the entrance to the Rodin Museum, just down the street from the museum of art. Philadelphia is home to the most extensive collection of Auguste Rodin’s work outside of Paris and many of the works are on view in this recently renovated museum and garden. So, take a look around, and then go ahead: strike the pose.

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

The Barnes Totem

Towering over the reflecting pool at the new Barnes Foundation building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway sits The Barnes Totem a 40-foot bead-blasted steel sculpture. Don’t try to figure out exactly what it is. That’s not the point. Instead, contemporary artist Ellsworth Kelly wants you to stop, look and feel what you feel. This is the first public work by Kelly installed in Philadelphia, and it’s the last in as series of totems that the 88-year-old master of American art has been creating since the 1970s.

2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Seated Couple

The Barnes Foundation is home to Dr. Albert C. Barnes’ impressive collection of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Early Modern Art, including 181 Renoirs, more than any other collection, and 69 Cezannes, more than in all of France. But it also houses his remarkable collection of African art, like this a wood carving of a couple embracing. Dr. Barnes was committed to showing the influence of African art on western artists, which is still evident in his famous “ensembles”—gallery arrangements that display art from different periods and cultures alongside modern masterpieces.
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118-128 N. Broad Street
(Broad and Cherry Streets)
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Paint Torch

It may look like just a giant paintbrush, but Claes Oldenburg’s larger-than-life, whimsical-looking works are never so simple. Paint Torch, Oldenburg’s 51-foot sculpture installed in Lenfest at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, merges merge two ideas: the paintbrush and the torch. The paintbrush is meant to celebrate PAFA as a location where painting with a brush is still practiced, while the torch is meant to illuminate the history of PAFA as the first place of art in a new country. The Swedish American artist’s first large-scale sculpture was the 45-foot Clothespin, which is located a few blocks south at 15th and Market Streets.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway
between 18th and 20th Streets
Philadelphia, PA

Swann Memorial Fountain

Large Native American figures, a pike, water-spurting frogs and turtles, and, of course, a swan, adorn this fountain that serves as a memorial to Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder the Philadelphia Fountain Society. Made in 1924, Alexander Stirling Calder's version of a traditional “river god” sculpture symbolizes the area’s major streams: the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. Calder is the son of William Milne Calder, who created the statue of William Penn that sits atop City Hall, and the father of Alexander Calder, whose Ghost mobile dangles inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the other end of the Parkway.
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18th Street and Logan Square Philadelphia, PA 19102

Sister Cities Park

Stop at the newly renovated Sister Cities Park, an urban oasis in the center of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Designed by DIGSAU architects, Pennoni Engineers, Inc. and Studio Bryan Hanes, landscape architects, the space features a children’s boat pond, an educational play garden, and a green-designed pavilion with a café and community room. A fountain will commemorate Philadelphia’s Sister Cities program, which dedicates landmarks to the city’s 10 “sisters,” of which Tel Aviv and Florence were the first two.

15th Street and John F. Kennedy Blvd. John F. Kennedy Plaza Philadelphia, PA 19102

LOVE Statue

There’s no better symbol for the City of Brotherly Love than, well, LOVE. Robert Indiana’s stacked steel, red-painted letter statue has been on view at John F. Kennedy Plaza just north of City Hall since 1976 in what is now affectionately called Love Park. Created when the country was embroiled in the Vietnam War, LOVE has since become a symbol of peace, one of Philadelphia’s best-known landmarks, and one of the most celebrated works of Pop Art.

John F. Kennedy Boulevard between 15th and Broad Streets

Your Move

Just across the street from LOVE Park, the Municipal Services Building plaza has been transformed into a giant, fantastical game board. Scattered on the plaza are oversized game pieces, including dominoes, checkers, bingo chips, Monopoly and Parcheesi, all made of Fiberglas and steel. Installed in 1996, Your Move is meant to juxtapose childhood memories with adult responsibilities.

3260 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Crystal Ball on Silver Stand

Fans of Harry Potter, wizards and other mystical beings will wonder at this real crystal ball at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. An ornamental treasure of the Imperial palace of Bejiing, this crystal sphere was said to have been a favorite possession of the Empress Dowager (1836-1908). The crystal was formed through years on constant rotation in a semi-cylindrical container filled with emery, garnet powder and water. The flawless 49-pound sphere is believed to be the second largest in the world. While you can’t see the future in it, it is a window into the past.