University City District to Vitalize The Porch at 30th Street Station with Inspiring and Ongoing Site-specific Art Installations

Monday, April 30, 2012

Arts Grant Logos

Contact: Mark Christman, University City District, 215-243-0555 or [email protected]

(Philadelphia, PA) – University City District (UCD), the neighborhood improvement and economic development organization in West Philadelphia, has been awarded $120,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, to establish a Permanent Place for Temporary Art at The Porch at 30th Street Station. By commissioning and installing site-specific works of art for The Porch, which is within one of the City's major foci of transportation and employment, UCD will use public art to elevate the pedestrian experience in the vicinity of 30th Street Station.

Adjacent to the second busiest train station in the country, between two magnificent historic buildings and within a short walk of over 16,000 jobs, The Porch is part of a key gateway to the Philadelphia region. Once a congested parking lane and bland, barren sidewalk, The Porch has quickly becoming one of the most animated public places in Philadelphia, with amenities such as abundant and comfortable seating, sun and shade, trees and plantings, and ongoing performances, farmers’ markets, yoga classes and a variety of special events and festivities. Beginning this year, visual art will add an entirely new dimension, enlivening the quotidian experience of commuting and providing an unexpected and inspiring close encounter with art for a cross-section of Philadelphia’s diverse population. UCD will partner with Philadelphia-based creative consultants Greenhouse Media, who have facilitated public art all over the country, including the High Line in New York City and the MOMA in San Francisco.

"The District’s public art installations will help transform this neighborhood, and be a powerful reminder of the importance of art in our everyday lives," said Dennis Scholl, Knight Foundation's vice president for arts. UCD executive director Matt Bergheiser adds, “The Porch is a blank canvas at one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the city. Our efforts to engage pedestrians and to attract activity to this space have been succeeding beyond our very high initial expectations, and we are thrilled to introduce art at The Porch as an important element of placemaking. We will invite exceptional artists to engage creatively with our site, with our audience and within our neighborhood context. Art will inspire new personal experiences at The Porch, and will be inspired by The Porch’s place at one of Philadelphia’s great gateways.”

About University City District
University City District is a partnership of world-renowned anchor institutions, small businesses and residents that creates opportunity, improves economic vitality and quality of life in the University City area of West Philadelphia. UCD’s primary mission is community revitalization. UCD works within a place-based, data-driven framework to invest in world-class public spaces, address crime and public safety, bring life to commercial corridors, connect low-income residents to careers, and promote job growth and innovation. For more information visit

About The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge is a $9 million initiative funding innovative projects that engage and enrich Philadelphia’s communities. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. The foundation believes that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit