Abandoned parking lots in Philadelphia get a new lease on life each summer, when the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) chooses a new site for its annual Pop Up Garden, part of a city beautification initiative that celebrates green space, community gatherings and the arts. This year, the third-annual Pop Up Garden brings to light the relationship between horticulture and the arts.
Thanks to a partnership with the University of the Arts, the 2013 Pop-Up Garden encompasses the university’s Dorrance Hamilton Hall, as well as a lot across the street. This beautification effort on the Avenue of the Arts speaks to PHS’s larger plan to beautify and uplift great Philadelphia public landscapes.
The parking lot is the centerpiece of the project. Conceptualized by FCM and Groundswell Design Group, the space allows for dining and drinking under a lush tree canopy amid twinkling lights. Visitors are invited to take a seat on the large, custom-built bench as they sip local craft beers, sangria or root beer, which are on tap each evening and served alongside a summer picnic-style food menu. A mobile Chipotle restaurant is also available on site.
During select afternoon hours, students from University of the Arts take to the garden for special performances. All forms of art are exhibited, including dance performances, photography and art installations, theater presentations, sculpture and design exhibitions, and live music. The garden is dismantled in mid-October but will bloom again next summer in a new location. GG