Our world and our views are shaped by art. What we see, how we choose to interpret it, and even what we never see can shape how we address the world around us. Even just sharing art with children in their most formative years can help to shape the future. So let us look at some fantastic and diverse art installations near Mount Laurel and learn what the area has to share.
Delaware River Waterfront
The Delaware River Waterfront in Philadelphia has more than just your standard public art pieces. The corporation that organizes this site strives to enrich the location with innovative art installations and even dynamic performing art events. Their dedication to the arts goes so far as to have a Waterfront Arts Program that uplifts the community and highlights talent both old and young.
Many of the art installations and events are temporary, like “Ghost Ship” from 2019 and “Festival of the People” from the year prior. Because of this, you always have a chance to see something new and exciting. Nevertheless, there are staple pieces that you can see year in and year out, like Jody Pinto’s “Land Buoy.” There are also year-round pop-up markets and artists-in-residence studios that allow for consistent demonstrations as well as shopping.
This glorious riverside exhibition is a place of diversity and community — one that you could easily spend an entire day exploring with your little one.
The LOVE sculpture is by far one of the most famous sculptures in Philadelphia. The statue, by Robert Indiana, first visited the city in 1976, and the public, appropriately, fell in love with it. Though it was meant to be a temporary installment, it was purchased and donated to the city and now lives there permanently. It is not uncommon to see a wedding taking place beneath the sculpture.
As this statue celebrates love in all forms, weddings are not the only thing it brings out. The park it is located in often holds group activities, from free fitness classes to cultural celebrations. They even host a Christmas Village around the holidays, including an open-air market where gifts can be purchased for loved ones. The park boasts of creating an environment that brings together world travelers.
When you are done at the park, a short walk will bring you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Here you can continue your art journey through fabulous exhibits or simply stop in for a quick meal at the family-friendly cafe.
You may not think a fashion district is suitable for children, but this area of Philadelphia is a place of wonder. Here you will find one of the largest free public art displays. Throughout the mall, you’ll find curated works of art ranging from murals to sculptures made by artists from all walks of life and all levels of renown. Some installations are permanent, like Eileen Nuff’s “The Greening,” which aims to bring nature into urban spaces. Others are temporary, like Kyle Confehr’s “I hope you’re okay,” which encourages the viewer to get lost in the lines and take a moment to breathe.
The mall offers interactive installations for any age to engage with as well. You may find yourself in a virtual reality dinner with special guests or painting the walls with movement. This space is not just for the astute art critic; rather, it is designed for everyone to find bits of joy and escapism. Your kids are bound to find something fascinating and exciting as you explore the mall with them.
A Love Letter For You
A train ride has never been this full of love and beauty. “A Love Letter For You,” completed in 2010 by Steve Powers, comprises 50 rooftop murals. You can walk through the city to experience them, or you can hop onto the Market and Frankford El train to take it all in. The murals span through the Market Street corridor and across 19 streets.
A graffiti artist turned studio artist, illustrator, and Fulbright graduate, Powers left messages of love all across his hometown, from words of affirmations like “Hold Tight” to confessions of love like “If you were here, I’d be home now.” Powers says his work is “a letter for one, with meaning for all,” and it is very clearly a passion project from this fantastic creator who wanted a “chance to put something on these rooftops that people would care about.”
“A Love Letter For You” is a great experience that highlights a different style of art and reminds your children how much you love them.
Philadelphia Magic Garden
The Magic Garden isn’t filled with freshly grown food or blooming flowers. Instead, this magnificent installation was inspired by and utilizes the art of Isaiah Zagar. Zagar started his mission to fill the neighborhood with art in the 1960s, and his passion and work inspired the community to follow suit. The garden can be experienced through two galleries and a bi-level outdoor exhibition.
When you visit, you will find yourself exploring a space covered entirely in mosaics of colored glass, mirrors, and handmade tiles — a depiction of the artist’s life and the inspiration of a neighborhood. As the garden has grown, the inclusion of other artists has as well. The Magic Garden is now a non-profit that encourages local talent to explore their art and share it with the world, so the galleries regularly display circulating work from artists of all walks of life.
What was once broken asphalt streets and long-abandoned lots is now a place of eclectic beauty and an inspiration to all. This is a mystical place that will bring your children wonder and remind them that art is for everyone.
There are countless other art exhibits and installations near Mount Laurel, but Crème de la Crème has just shared five wonderful locations for you and your children to explore. Did we miss your favorite artwork? Is there one everyone should know about? Share it with us so we can spread the word, and help make the world a more colorful place.