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Exquisite Copse



Exquisite Copse
October 4 – November 6, 2020 
Palumbo Park
723 Catharine St. Philadelphia, PA
Submission Deadline: July 1, 2020

This fall, Philadelphia Sculptors will be participating in the inauguration of the Da Vinci Fest, a new Philadelphia arts festival taking place on October 11, 2020. Inspired by its namesake, Leonardo da Vinci, the Da Vinci Art Alliance will be celebrating creativity across disciplines as it presents events, exhibitions and creative activities for the public.
Our role will be to create a temporary exhibition of sculptures in Palumbo Park, a small community park adjacent to Fleisher Art Memorial and across the street from the Da Vinci Art Alliance, during the month of October. The sculptures will be in the spirit of Da Vinci and of some of the remarkable artists who came after him. A play on the Surrealists’ game “Exquisite Corpse,” Exquisite Copse will be a three-dimensional version installed near small groves of trees in the park. Artists will create works that will be positioned in groups of three, connected to each other in creative ways.

Theme and content:
Leonardo da Vinci has been renowned for centuries for his brilliance as a painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, engineer and inventor, among many other things. His drawings and writings inspired many artists over the centuries since his death in 1519. Many of his inventions were not considered feasible in his day, yet later, as the world caught up with him, a number of his ideas did actually get developed. Among many others, his drawing for a rotating flying machine anticipated the modern day helicopter, a sketch for an adding machine demonstrated the concept of the calculator, and his parachute design pre-dated the first practical parachute by over 250 years. A true “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo not only was a brilliant artist, but also was always using his imagination to tinker and invent things, even if they could not be realized during his lifetime.
Four centuries later, another group of artists known as the Surrealists, looked inward and viewed the unconscious as the inspiration for their creativity. One method of accessing their inner minds was “Exquisite Corpse,” a collaborative game they invented that made use of the artistic possibilities inherent in chance. Each participant would draw on a sheet of paper, which would then be folded to hide each contribution and then passed to the next player. When unfolded, the resulting drawing would show three or four unrelated images combined into one. These drawings were examples of creativity unrestrained by the need for rationality or practicality. Like Leonardo, these artists accessed their imaginations to create things that had never existed before, but unlike him, they never intended them to have a functional equivalent in the physical world.
Our Exquisite Copse is inspired both by the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, and the fantastic imagery of the Surrealists. Existing fully in the physical world, the sculptures that will be created for this exhibition may be inspired by any of these artists, by the setting in a “copse” of trees, or by any other artistic, scientific or imaginative source. Artworks do not have to address a specific theme, but must be created in the spirit of invention and imagination. Although artists will create their works individually, there will be an additional step for the artworks accepted for the exhibition. The jury will create groupings of three or four works to be displayed together. The artists will be notified as to where their works will be sited, and which artists will have works that will be placed adjacent to theirs. They will then work with their assigned group to invent mechanisms to connect the works to each other. Philadelphia Sculptors will communicate with all accepted artists with additional details.

Artists must be current members of Philadelphia Sculptors to participate, but anyone may join the organization prior to submitting to the exhibition. Information about joining PS and our dues structure is available here. Members who need to check their dues status should contact Membership Chair Joan Menapace at Artists over the age of 18, working in all media are encouraged to participate. All completed works must be original. Artists must be willing to work with one or two other artists for part of this project.

Artist Stipend – All accepted artists will receive a stipend of $100.

Palumbo Park is a neighborhood park located on the north side of Catharine Street, a small street in the Bella Vista section of Philadelphia. Renovated in 2016, the park has pathways made from brick pavers, garden areas, benches and picnic tables, and trees. It is enclosed by steel fencing and brick pillars and has a wide accessible street entrance. The park is popular in the community and gets foot traffic primarily from neighbors and local residents, both adults and children. An article about its renovation with photos of the park gives more details:

The Philadelphia Sculptors Steering Committee, will serve as jury for this exhibition. Artworks that do not conform to materials and safety requirements will be excluded from consideration.

Dimensions and locations:
Sculptures may be sited on the walkways or in the garden areas. Walkways range from 6’ – 9’ wide, and garden areas have irregular sizes but fall within that range. Artists may request to have their works sited on the walkways or garden surfaces, but artworks on the walkways should not block the entire walkway. The specific locations and configurations will be determined by the jury once the selections are made. Sculptures intended for the walkways must be heavy enough not to be easily moved. Sculptures in the garden areas may be staked or in other ways secured to the ground.

Materials and safety concerns:
Since the sculptures will remain outdoors for a month, weather conditions must be taken into account when choosing materials. Artists should pay attention to the following:
• Weight, materials and structure – Artworks should have enough weight and structural soundness to be able to withstand winds, storms and park recreational activities.
• Safety – Since children frequent the park, artists should avoid having sharp elements that might injure someone coming into contact with the work. Materials such as sharp metal or glass, or wires that jut out, must be avoided.
• Lighting and electricity – electrical outlets are available in different locations around the park. Artists may make use of them to include kinetic or lighting elements in their works. Interactive elements such as motion or light detectors may also be included if they can function outdoors.

Delivery and installation of accepted works:
Artworks must be delivered to the park on Friday and Saturday, October 2 and 3, 2020.  Volunteers will be available to help transport and site the work, but artists are encouraged to install complex works or works of multiple components.
Insurance: The Philadelphia Sculptors’ insurance policy will cover liability, but with a deductible of $1,000, it will not cover damage to most works for this show. If artists are interested in insuring works in lower price ranges, they would need to provide their own coverage.
Submission deadline July 1, 2020
Artist notification- July 15, 2020
Delivery and installation- Friday, Saturday, Oct. 2, 3: 10 am – 5pm
Opening reception- October 10, 6-8 pm (subject to change)
Da Vinci Fest- October 11
Exhibition De-installation- October 4 – November 6, 2020 Saturday, November 7, 10 am – 3 pm

Prize summary: 
Prizes Details: 

All accepted artist will receive a $100 stipend


Entry Fee:

Fee Detail: 
Free for Philadelphia Sculptors Members, anyone can join
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