New Home for the Art of Alexander Calder Planned for Philly’s Parkway

After twenty years of discussion, plans for a new building dedicated to the work of Alexander Calder are moving forward. But this building won’t be your typical art museum.

Instead, organizers are calling the space a sanctuary. The Calder Foundation and other philanthropists dedicated to the project aim to create a smaller space that allows a more intimate interaction with the work. Alexander Rower, president of the Calder Foundation said, “it’s a place for you to have a meditative experience, a very singular experience of just you and the work of art.”

The smaller scale is also because of practical considerations. The project had been in limbo for twenty years because the idea of a museum was too big; they could not secure the proper funding. Organizers also hope to arrange an agreement with the Barnes Foundation to help administer the Calder sanctuary. These measures will help keep the project small enough to move forward.

The Calder building is planned for a small triangular parcel of land on the Parkway catty-corner from the Barnes. Organizers still need to arrange a lease agreement with the city for the plot, and architectural drafts for the building are expected to be finished by the end of the summer.

Alexander Calder was a Philadelphia-native who followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather as a sculptor. He was best known for his hanging mobiles and public sculptures. One of his mobiles, Ghost, hangs in the Great Stair Hall Balcony at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.