Art in the Open Philadelphia, May 18-20, 2018

Art in the Open Philadelphia, May 18-20, 2018

Art in the Open (AiO) is a biennial citywide event that celebrates artists, their inspirations for creating art, and their relationships with the urban environment. Art in the Open debuted in June 2010, bringing a jury-selected group of artists to the Schuylkill Banks - from the historic Fairmount Water Works to South Street - to inspire new ways of seeing the river and the city it runs through. Every other year, a new group of artists is chosen for a three day event, creating new works of art outside, in a creative process open to everyone.  

The public is encouraged to participate in Art in the Open by visiting often during the three-day event, to see the works of art evolve and talk with the artists about their creative process. By actively engaging with AiO, you become part of that process - shifting ideas of the art audience, and as part of the environment the artists are considering, influencing how the art take shape. Artists' working times will vary with their project's particular needs; most activity takes place between 9 am and 5 pm.

Partnering civic and cultural organizations throughout Philadelphia also offer extensive opportunities for public engagement with the event, showcasing the vibrant community of working artists, galleries and institutions that make Philadelphia a major Urban Art Center, and its two rivers: waterways which continue to inspire creative response and also serve as an ecologically critical lifeline for its residents.

Illustration: Work by Josh Harris, Art in the Open 2014. Photo © Karen Jenkins 

2018 Call for Artists

Art in the Open (AiO), a partnership between The Center for Emerging Visual Artists (CFEVA), City Parks Association, and Fairmount Water Works, re-frames the ‘plein air’ tradition of creating art outside and on-site in a contemporary context, encouraging both artists and audiences to draw inspiration from the city's diverse natural and urban landscapes. Using the Schuylkill River Banks Park as studio space, participating artists will have the opportunity to explore new working methods, develop process-oriented works, and interpret a compelling intersection of urban and natural environments in the public realm. Selected artists will have the opportunity to participate in complementary programs and public engagement events presented by more than 30 organizational partners, as well as exhibit their finished work as part of the 2018-2019 AiO exhibition series. AiO reaches an estimated 12,000 visitors over the course of the three-day event.

Local, National and International artists, working in all media, are encouraged to apply. Learn more about previous AiO events by visiting For more information or questions about the application process, please contact Genevieve Coutroubis, Director of Artist Programs at CFEVA: (215) 546-7775 x 11 or


Mary Salvante, Curator and Gallery Director, Rowan University Art Gallery

Conrad Benner, Independent Curator, Founder and Editor, Streets Dept

Leroy Johnson, Artist

Alex Klein, Dorothy and Stephen R. Weber (CHE'60) Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania