artist Stacy Levy

View of Bartrams Garden and the Schuylkill River. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

Art@Bartram’s, a multi-year initiative begun in 2015, focuses on the development and production of public art projects in and around Bartram’s Garden, Bartram’s Mile, and the surrounding neighborhood. The project celebrates the Schuylkill River trail by connecting the public to the river, enhancing the public’s awareness, understanding, and experience of the river and its surrounding landscape, raising awareness of water-related environmental concerns, and promoting environmental stewardship.

In spring 2016, artist Stacy Levy was awarded the inaugural Art@Bartram’s commission, and and has installed two temporary site-specific works of public art for summer 2018, continuing through fall 2018. Two installations along the Schuylkill River—Tide Field and River Rooms—celebrate the connection between Bartram’s Garden and the Schuylkill River, and invite visitors to develop a closer relationship with the river.

The tide ebbs and flows in the city on its own schedule, influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun. It runs on a timeline all its own—unaffiliated with human schedules. The tidal fluctuation of the Schuylkill gives us a sense of the enduring quality of natural processes, occurring in the midst of our human world of concrete and steel. Having an understanding of the tidal timing and amplitude is a first step in creating a kinship with the river…Artwork can foster a deep engagement with the river—setting people on the journey from knowing to caring—which is the path to stewardship.

- Stacy Levy

Levy’s Tide Field, a series of current-driven buoys, draws attention to the river’s tidal nature through “ever-changing visualization.” As the tide rises and falls twice daily, the buoys are concealed and revealed, animating a familiar waterscape in a new way.

River Rooms, six wooden boat-like structures, provides destinations for observation, reflection, and interactive programming. Visitors can fish, observe a variety of Tide Field locations, or simply sit and converse.

Art@Bartrams Report (PDF)