Philadelphia, PA - Center City District (CCD) is pleased to present the activation of the first phase of Pulse, a site-specific work of public art created for Dilworth Park by internationally renowned artist Janet Echelman, who reshapes urban airspace with a monumental, fluidly moving sculpture that responds to environmental forces including wind, water, and sunlight.
Inspired by Center Square’s history as Philadelphia’s water and transportation hub, Pulse traces in the surface of the fountain the paths of the subway and trolley lines that converge beneath Dilworth Park.
As SEPTA trains pass beneath, four-foot-tall curtains of colorful atomized mist travel across the park fountain’s surface following the transit lines that that bring more than 70,000 passengers to the site each day.
The first phase of Pulse opened on Wednesday, September 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the northern end of the fountain above the Subway-Surface Trolley Lines, also known as the green line. The launch of the first phase (green line) will help support fundraising to complete the remaining two sections of Pulse, which trace the Market-Frankford Line (blue line) and the Broad Street Line (orange line).
Pulse utilizes a high-pressure misting system of specialized pumps that create an ultra-fine, fog-like, cool mist that quickly evaporates. The ephemeral mist is made of filtered, softened water onto which lighting is projected so it is completely safe for children to play in.
Described by the artist as “a living X-ray of the city’s circulatory system,” the vibrantly colored mist curtains move across the fountain and mirror the footprint of the trains below, evoking the steam rising from the city’s first water pumping station that was located on the site at the beginning of the 19th century, as well as the steam from the trains at the Pennsylvania Railroad Station that were across the street. While celebrating the site’s rich history, Pulse also embraces the future with cutting edge technology.
The first phase of Pulse is made possible by contributions from William Penn Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Knight Foundation; ArtPlace America; Poor Richard’s Charitable Trust; Barbara and Ted Aronson; Parkway Corporation; Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau; Henry L. Kimelman Family Foundation; George and Karen Rosskam; PNC Bank; Diversified Search; Michael J. Edwards and Erica Rockenback; George Ahern; Roger Schwab; and Bruce S. and Wendy R. Dunn.