News: Artwork by 68 Pennsylvania Artists Now on Permanent Display

Preacher. House of Prayer. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2018



PHILADELPHIA – The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority is pleased to announce the completion of its $1.5 million Juried Art Competition which resulted in the installation of 127 works of art including paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and other mixed media projects by a range of talented Pennsylvania artists.
“The artwork that grace the Pennsylvania Convention Center’s Expansion give a true appreciation for the multi-faceted talents of artists from every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Gregory J. Fox., Esq., Chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority (PCCA). “These works express great respect and love for the creative talents of the Keystone State. They encourage a connection between the artists and more than 1 million visitors who come to our Center each year.”
PCCA formed an all-volunteer Expansion Art Committee comprised of prominent members of the Pennsylvania arts community in late 2014 to oversee the selection and installation of fine art. The Committee included representatives of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA); Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy with the City of Philadelphia; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA); Lafayette College; Office of Public Art: a Public Private Partnership between the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning; Demuth Museum; and the Erie Art Museum.
The “Open Call” resulted in 1,550 submissions from Pennsylvania-based artists. A blind jury then reviewed the artists’ submissions and made selections based on quality, scale and durability for public viewing. Among the works by acclaimed artists in the collection are commissioned pieces Amazing Grace by Moe Brooker and That Music Always Round Me by Astrid Bowlby. 
Some pieces are decades old. Photographer Tony Ward submitted five portraits, taken between 1976 and 1980, of congregants at the United House of Prayer for All People, a nondenominational church at 16th and Fitzwater Sts. It’s where Ward’s grandmother worshipped at the time.
The project was financed by allocations made when the building was expanded in 2011. The final installations were completed this fall and already are winning praise. “We receive calls and emails from around the globe about our art collection. Photo opportunities with our expansion art pieces become part of social media memories for convention attendees,” said John J. McNichol, President & CEO of PCCA. “We look forward to our year-long 25th Anniversary celebration throughout 2018 when we will showcase the collection and offer opportunities for public art tours.”
The 68 artists who were selected to display their work are eager to share their creations with the Center’s many visitors and are thrilled to be part of such an extensive collection. “I was humbled that my artwork was selected for the Center’s one-of-a-kind art collection,” said artist Bradley Schmehl who resides in York County.  “When I read the ‘Open Call for Art’ from the Center, I determined to take the risk to create and offer a piece specifically for the Center, one that hopefully would speak to the heart of Pennsylvania. I am honored my work will be displayed for generations to come and am highly impressed with the Center’s dedication and support for our Pennsylvania art community.” 
The names of the Blind Jury had not been previously released. Now that the process is complete, we are pleased to share the names of the jury and thank them for their service: Bruce Katsiff, former Director & CEO, James A. Michener Art Museum, Doylestown (Bucks County); Jacque Liu, Percent for Art Project Manager, Office of Arts, Culture, & Creative Economy with the City of Philadelphia; Judith O’Toole, Director & CEO, Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg (Westmoreland County); M. Cecile Shellman, independent Art Consultant & Curator, Pittsburgh (Allegheny County); Ann Shields, Gallery Director, HUB-Robeson Galleries at Pennsylvania State University at University Park (Centre County); Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) in Philadelphia; John Vanco, Director, Erie Art Museum, Erie (Erie County); and Ricardo Viera, Professor of Art and Director/Curator, Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) – Museum Operation, Bethlehem (Northampton County).
To access additional pictures from Tony Ward’s House of Prayer portfolio, click here

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