Aug 9, 2018

A Home in the World, with Stacy Levy

by: Laura Kochman

All summer long, Philadelphia has been abuzz with questions about the strange, colorful buoys that appeared in the Schuylkill River. Were they marking a scientific study? Were they the first signs of an invasion of giant caterpillars? We settled it: the buoys that crop up in small “field” groups along the river are Tide Field, an installation from artist Stacy Levy.

Levy’s work at Bartram’s Garden for Art@Bartram’s has involved several years of research and careful permitting, coming together over the summer and fall of 2018. Wooden River Rooms dot the hillside of the Garden overlooking the Schuylkill, each variation of Tide Field rises and falls in the water, and a robust series of programming invites you (yes, you!) to learn more about your neighbor: the river.

“I’m kind of a sucker for an urban river,” says Levy, whose artistic practice revolves around environmental concerns. This project encourages us to develop a daily relationship with the river, learning more about the way the tide works and understanding its interaction with the city landscape. With not one but two rivers, it can be easy for Philadelphians to take the Schuylkill for granted—to see it as a static object that will always be there when we need it.

The surface of the water is very animated, but we lose track of that. But if you put something out there that captures that animation and amplifies it, you really see how variable the water surface is…these things are responding in a big way.


In reality, not even a river is immune to change, and it’s up to us to take care of it. It’s Levy’s hope that Art@Bartram’s gives people the sense that “I’m at home in the world,” that they are part of something bigger.


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 is funded by the William Penn Foundation.

Get mobile alerts for all events by texting “TideRooms” to 797979.

Last updated: Aug 9, 2018

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share Your Thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *