Art, Giant, Museums, Pennsylvania, Sculpture, Travel

Paint the City Electric

In the heart of Philadelphia, you’re sure to find great food, stunning museums, and a rich history of our nation. But anyone can lick the Liberty Bell. For something out of the ordinary, find your way to a quiet, pedestrian alley in the city: Lenfest Plaza. You can’t miss it. The plaza is situated on the campus of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA) and is home to a 51-foot tall paintbrush designed by Claes Oldenburg.


The sculpture marks the entrance of “museum mile” in Philadelphia, and features a giant glob of paint on the sidewalk. From certain angles, it appears as though it’s poised to paint the sun in the afternoon sky.

Shot from a nearby bench in the plaza. Recline and enjoy the view.

Down the plaza, you’ll find a decommissioned Grumman war plane turned into a greenhouse, by Jordan Griska. It’s an unexpected sight in the small alley, and more bizarre is the fact that the greenhouse plants include tomatoes you can actually eat. Who among the citizens of the Cold War Era could have imagined a Navy plane would be used as a hothouse?


The alley was filled with visitors as we approached for a closer view.

Tim ponders how to get to the veggies.


Through the alley and a few blocks over, you’ll find yourself mesmerized in front of another sculpture by Oldenburg: Clothespin. Created in 1976, the forty-five foot tall structure stands in Center Square Plaza, Philadelphia.

Now all we need is a shirt big enough to hang from the line!

While in Philly, be sure to visit another of Oldenburg’s displays at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Giant Three-Way Electric Plug, in Cor-Ten steel and bronze. At one time, the museum housed a smaller version in cherrywood.


This is one of three of the “plug” installations, resting in the ground. Over his career, Oldenburg has designed over forty large-scale sculptures, which can be found in ten countries. We can’t wait to see more.

Wonder if Tim can plug his amp into this?
Still smaller than an electric plug...
Still smaller than an electric plug…

The Philadelphia Museum of Art has another iconic statue, and some pretty famous steps. Yes, steps. Though we didn’t run through the city and up to the top, we did pose with the Rocky Statue.

And now for something completely different.
And now for something completely different.
After Tim’s pose, I couldn’t stop laughing.

We had fun seeking out relics on this trip to Philly. For nearby attractions, check out our other posts: Crayons for the Street Art Cyclist, and I Slept in a Wheelbarrow. Hope you enjoy your visit!


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