Philadelphia

Jody Pinto

Fairmount Park

The impetus for Jody Pinto’s Fingerspan, 1987, her first permanent large-scale public sculpture in the United States, was a Fairmount Park Art Association project begun in 1980. The association invited artists to propose public art projects for this Philadelphia park that would, in the sponsor’s terms, “be utilitarian, site-specific, and integral to community life.” Pinto’s original proposal for a triple, split-tongued pier to snake out over the Wissahickon Creek in Fairmount Park proved infeasible for technical/environmental reasons. Eventually, at the suggestion of local citizens, the site for this commission was switched to another spot along the Wissahickon: a gorge (actually an erosion ravine) that had for several years presented a dangerous chasm for park hikers to negotiate. Pinto’s solution for this location—installed in June—was a 59-foot-long, 4-foot-wide, 9-foot-high, Cor-Ten

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