By Angela McQuillan, Little Berlin
On Friday, October 5th, a new set of sculptures were installed at the Little Berlin Fairgrounds. This sculpture series entitled “Ancient Structures for a New World” was created by the Cultural Arts Center at the Philadelphia Developmental Disabilities Corporation. The Cultural Arts Center at the PDDC strives to foster creativity, self-confidence, and community connections for adults with developmental disabilities through classes in visual arts, music, dance and theater, outings to cultural venues, and opportunities to work with other artists and arts-based organizations. This particular project was spearheaded by PDDC employees and Philadelphia based artists Emily Royer and Emilia Brintnall, and involved over 80 artists and participants.
The installation is made up of three sculptures, two that were constructed on the PDDC campus and transported to the Little Berlin Fairgrounds, and one that was built on site. The two cone-shaped sculptures that were built at the PDDC are a mosaic of colorful painted rocks, hand-made ceramics, glass and other objects created by the PDDC Cultural Arts Center artists over a period of a few months and bound together in cement. The third sculpture is a pyramid composed of bricks that were gathered by the PDDC artists during a few field trips to the Little Berlin Fairgrounds and the surrounding Kensington neighborhood. The artists decorated the gathered bricks with painted designs, and a colorful pyramid was erected! Before sealing up the pyramid, PDDC staff member and artist Michael Gerkovich included certain items of cultural significance such as books, CDs and video tapes, inside to be sealed like a time capsule and preserved for future discovery.
The creation of this sculpture series was an amazing effort by many people to create a collaborative, community-based public art piece. These structures are built as monuments to human creativity and community, and a way to give new life to the old and ruined structures in the neighborhood. A huge amount of physical effort was involved in the creation, installation and transportation of these sculptures, so Little Berlin would like to thank PDDC staff for all their creativity and hard work to make this happen. Little Berlin would also like to thank PDDC participants for their amazing art work. These sculptures are the most colorful installation at the Little Berlin Fairgrounds and we hope they will serve as a way to brighten the space and offer some artistic inspiration to the surrounding neighborhood.