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Calder Gardens breaks ground on Nov. 15. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Calder Gardens breaks ground on Nov. 15. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Breaking ground on Calder Gardens, a new museum at the Parkway

The new museum is set to be completed in 2024, and honors the work of notable sculptor and Philadelphia native, the late Alexander Calder.

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Philadelphia is the home to many different destinations, landmarks, and sites. 

On Tuesday, November 15, the first step in adding the latest one took place —  Calder Gardens, named after the well-known artist and sculptor, Alexander Calder.

“Calder Gardens is the culmination of literally decades worth of work on behalf of the civic and cultural leaders of Philadelphia,” said Marsha Perelman, President and board chair of Calder Gardens, at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Described as a “sanctuary-like retreat dedicated to the art and ideas of Alexander Calder,” will feature galleries illuminated by natural light, as well as a rotating selection of masterworks from the Calder Foundation, including mobiles, stabiles, monumental sculptures, and paintings.

As Philadelphia has already cemented its reputation as a “must-see arts destination,” Calder Gardens is “a crown jewel,” Perelman added. 

Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Mayor Jim Kenney has been a major supporter in seeing this new museum come to fruition. 

During his remarks, he shared that Philadelphia’s legacy is “making art accessible and showcasing the important role it plays in our culture and in our communities.” 

“Calder Gardens will continue to build on an ever-growing arts and culture presence in our great city,” said Mayor Kenney. 

Calder was a third generation artist and Philadelphian who became recognized as one of the most innovative and influential of the 20th century, carrying a rich legacy.

His grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder, was the man who created the William Penn statue at City Hall. His father, Alexander Stirling Calder, was the creator of many public installations across Philadelphia, including Swann Memorial Foundation.

That legacy lives today through the younger generations.

Calder's grandson, Alexander Rower, Founder and President of the Calder Foundation, was present at the groundbreaking ceremony, detailing what the new Calder Museum will mean. 

Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

To him, it's a new opportunity. 

“This is a way for us to get close to Calder. It’s a way to have a place where you and your body can be with Calder’s art in a really more deep, meaningful way.” 

As part of the Calder bloodline, Rower notes that it’s extraordinary how the new museum will be a gem of his grandfather’s work and legacy. 

After his remarks, a traditional ritual from the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribe took place, blessing the soil where the new museum will be constructed.

Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

To close, Joseph Neubauer, chair of the Neubauer Family Foundation, shared that the construction of Calder Garden represents “another chapter in Philadelphia’s success story.” 

Calder Gardens will be a 1.8-acre site located between 21st and 22nd Streets at the Ben Franklin Parkway. The museum is scheduled for completion in 2024

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