- location Philadelphia Navy Yard
August 01, 2017
Artwork by Nate Harris
The Philadelphia Navy Yard has always been the site of innovation, production, and discovery, and in recent years, has been reinvented as a booming locale for new businesses—now, thanks to multiple projects led by Mural Arts, it’s also a site for creative experimentation and exploration through public art.
The 1,200-acre campus has been enlivened by four installations by artist Nate Harris, all inspired by the history of the Navy Yard and rendered in different formats and media: Sails at the Crescent Park entrance was inspired by the imagery, materials, and dimensions of ships’ sails. Within the existing park structure, these bright overhead banners provide shade and visual stimulation, invoking the Navy Yard’s waterfront location even at the entrance to the campus. Along the front side of Building 101, Gate Keepers match vertical banners with existing columns, contrasting with the historic brick. The figures reflect the building’s formal architecture. The colorful, patterned amphitheater stairs of Central Green double as benches, making a natural meeting place for a creative reset during the office day, or a children’s play date. Harris played with the horizontal space available along the step fronts, building a two-dimensional whimsical landscape of color and shape. Along the waterfront, Dazzle Wall fits right in with the ships docked along the pier—its abstract pattern is a type of “dazzle camouflage,” painted on ships in World War I to conceal them from enemy photography. Harris’ bold design invites office workers to come closer and enjoy the beautiful river view.
Artist Miriam Singer was also commissioned to create a new graphic identity for the Navy Yard, representing its contemporary identity while nodding to its history. Singer’s design uses collage, representing “the layers of history of a place, of paper, of covering and building up, and taking away,” she says. The multi-layered design has many focal points, and will be used across Navy Yard collateral, such as van wraps, mugs, stationary, business cards, and more.
Artwork by Miriam Singer
FS Investments and Art Education
At the same time, artist Michael Konrad will work with students from our Art Education program, with support from FS Investments, to create “sidewalk surface interventions” that explore the nautical history of the Navy Yard—artwork that will delight your eyes and feet.