• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

Phoenix Rising sculpture says farewell to Dilworth Plaza

  • 'Phoenix Rising' set in Dilworth Plaza, Fall 2011.


Even though construction on Dilworth Plaza began months ago, the Phoenix Rising sculpture remained in its barren, sunken setting in the Plaza's north end.



On Thursday, keen-eyed observers may have noticed crews removing the Phoenix Rising sculpture out of the dusty demolition zone that is Dilworth Plaza.

The sculpture - which I've had described to me as a paper airplane after a nosedive - was designed by Emlen Etting as a memorial to former Mayor Richardson Dilworth. Its metal folds were supposed to evoke the phoenix's wings, symbolizing Dilworth's vision for the city's rebirth.

Much like Dilworth Plaza, Phoenix Rising never made much sense to me as a tribute. The artwork and its depressed setting never seemed a suitable memorial to the late great mayor.

But fret not Phoenix Rising lovers, it's not being taken away forever.

The plan, according to the Center City District, is to restore Phoenix Rising in preparation for its new home on Dock Street, near the Society Hill Towers. The Art Commission okayed the move in September 2011. No word yet on when Phoenix Rising will be installed in its new location.

  • Rendering of 'Phoenix Rising' in its future location on Dock Street. | by KieranTimberlake, courtesy of Center City District

About the author

Ashley Hahn, Contributor

Ashley Hahn started Eyes on the Street for PlanPhilly in 2011 and was PlanPhilly's managing editor from September 2015 until July 2017. She is interested in preservation, neighborhoods, and all things public – from policy to art. She holds masters degrees in City and Regional Planning and Historic Preservation from PennDesign. Ashley has lived in 12 zip codes that she can think of, including neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York and Philadelphia. She is proud to call 19147 home. 

Contact Ashley via email or find her on twitter: @ashleyjhahn.


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