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PHILADELPHIA (September 24, 2018) – Philadelphia is set to celebrate the 100th birthday of its grand cultural boulevard, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, with Parkway Soirée, a block-party birthday festival from 5:00-10:00 p.m., on Friday, October 26, 2018. Presented by the Parkway Council, in partnership with PECO and PNC Bank, and featuring Night Market Philadelphia, the Parkway 100 finale promotes 100 family-friendly activities and experiences in the Parkway Museums District.

The centerpiece block party begins with the cutting of the Parkway centennial cake at 5:00 p.m. in Franklin Hall at The Franklin Institute, with music and singing led by students from Friends Select School. Guests can then grab dinner from some of Night Market Philadelphia’s favorite sweet and savory food trucks parked in Logan Square, or at the Vintage BYO Picnic at Sister Cities Park. Live music, strolling entertainers, Square Dancing in the Square around the picturesque Swann Memorial Fountain presented by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, public art and photo tours, and kids’ music jam sessions are all part of the fun.

Several Parkway museums and cultural institutions will offer extended hours and special programming to celebrate the centennial, such as pay-what-you wish evening admission, dino-dancing and a Dino Drafts beer garden at The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University; and performances by Ballet X and the Philadelphia Argentine Tango School, and a rooftop beer garden at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Parkway Central Library. Attendees will also have a last opportunity to see the Library’s Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway exhibition in the West Gallery or check out the new exhibition Philadelphia: The Changing City on view in the Rare Book Department. Moore College of Art & Design hosts the West Philadelphia Orchestra, a 14-piece brass band, along with exhibitions on view indoors in the Galleries at Moore, and interactive fun outdoors, including caricatures and chalk drawings by talented Moore students.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents its popular Final Friday programming (admission), with a spotlight on the three generations of Calders on the Parkway, including Alexander (Sandy) Calder’s Ghost, which hangs in the museum’s Grand Stair Hall. There will be activities on the East Terrace, too. The Rodin Museum will be open late so visitors can explore works by the master sculptor, and the Rodin Garden Bar will be back by popular demand for one night only, offering beer, wine, and light fare for purchase in the Parisian-themed gardens. The Barnes Foundation will host a Young Professionals Night: Modern Muse, inspired by the pioneering, female impressionist painter Berthe Morisot–the subject of its new international exhibition, Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist (admission). The Franklin Institute and the exhibition, “Vikings: Beyond the Legend,” will also be open with evening hours (admission).

The story of the history of the Parkway will be told in an addition to the Association for Public Art’s Museum Without Walls™: AUDIO program, which features David B. Brownlee, Parkway historian and author of the Parkway history book, “Building the City Beautiful: The Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.”  The Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul will be open for visits. Guests can also enjoy a Parkway landscape tour presented by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

The October 26 date marks 100 years to the day when the Parkway was open, for the first time, end-to-end. Developments over the next 100 years have created one of the finest cultural districts in the world. Parkway Soirée is the finale to 14 months of exhibitions, events, community conversations, and promotions commemorating the Parkway’s centennial.

The Parkway’s birthday fete also features:

·         The sounds of jazz, pop, and blues from Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society with dance entertainment from the Old City Sweethearts, plus croquet, chess, checkers, and more to celebrate the era the Parkway got its start with the Vintage BYO Picnic at Sister Cities Park;

·         The PNC Bank Mobile Learning Adventure featuring the “When I Grow Up Station,” science-themed crafts, and complimentary educational materials;

·         In honor of Mural Arts Month, Mural Arts Philadelphia and curator Ryan Strand Greenberg present artist Alicia Eggert’s You Are Magic, a large-scale, interactive, inflatable sculpture designed to inspire wonder and evoke the power or collaboration. You Are Magic is an original artwork created for Arlington County, Virginia as part of the Arlington Art Truck program.

·         Art in the Allée participatory art project with Mural Arts Philadelphia outside The Barnes Foundation;

·         A Puzzle Park complete with over-sized puzzles from the commemorative Parkway 100 dot-to-dot coloring book;

·         Painting with Mural Arts Philadelphia;

·         Kids’ music jam sessions with Settlement Music School;

·         A focus on fun facts and French influences on the Parkway, plus French lessons for all ages, and a photo booth with Alliance Francaise;

·         Self-guided public art tours of The Logan Philadelphia collection of 1,800 works with subtle, playful nods to James Logan, the hotel’s Parkway location, and Philadelphia surroundings.

·         Selfies with zombies, presented by “Terror Behind the Walls” at Eastern State Penitentiary;

·         A Halloween party (admission) at the Mütter Museum at The College of Physicians;

·         And a video display of entries from the “My Parkway” Photo Contest.

“The Benjamin Franklin Parkway connects us -- to art, culture, science, horticulture, education, and to each other,” said Gail Harrity, chairperson for the Parkway 100 Committee. “Parkway 100 is an unprecedented opportunity for us to celebrate those wonderful connections. The celebration is the result of an exceptional collaboration among the world-class museums and institutions that comprise the Parkway Museums District.”

“Parkway Soirée is the finale to a yearlong centennial celebration that has included special events, exhibitions, community conversations, and promotions,” said Judi Rogers, executive director, Parkway Council. “The Parkway Soirée block party will be a great opportunity for us to come together and enjoy the things we love about the Parkway every day, and also enjoy a few once-in-a-century experiences.”

"The Food Trust's Night Market Philadelphia is excited to partner with the Parkway Council on Parkway Soirée,” said Diana Minkus, senior associate, Night Market Philadelphia. “Our mission for Night Market is to bring communities together to celebrate the joy of food, support local businesses and showcase Philadelphia's most exciting and diverse neighborhoods. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is one of Philadelphia's most iconic sites, and we're honored to be a part of its 100-year anniversary celebration!”

Parkway Soirée is rain or shine, with most outdoor activities relocating indoors in the event of rain. The Windsor Suites is offering a special Parkway 100 hotel package.

Parkway Council members include: the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Aimco/Park Towne Place, Association for Public Art (aPA), the Barnes Foundation, Brandywine Realty Trust, Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter & Paul, Center City District (Cret Park, Dilworth Park, and Sister Cities Park), City of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, College of Physicians/Mütter Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary, Fairmount Water Works, Fox Rothschild LLP, The Franklin Institute, Free Library of Philadelphia, Friends Select School, The Logan Hotel, Moore College of Art & Design, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation, Philadelphia Mormon Temple, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Philadelphian, the Rodin Museum, and The Windsor Suites.

Parkway 100 is made possible through the generous leadership support of the William Penn Foundation, PNC Bank, PECO, the Association for Public Art (aPA), and partners the City of Philadelphia and City of Philadelphia Department of Parks & Recreation, as well as the following sponsors: Brandywine Realty Trust, The Logan Hotel, The Windsor Suites, Cooke & Berlinger, Fox Rothschild LLP, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, Logan Square Neighborhood Association, The PFM Group, 6abc, Devine + Partners, LeftHand Creative, and Visit Philadelphia. 

About the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The development of the Parkway took place over decades, from the first proposal and signed petition received by City Council in 1891, to groundbreaking in 1907, and finally construction in 1917. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Parkway’s October 26, 1918 completion in its story, “Parkway is Open From Hall to Park” (October 27, 1918, pg. 3). Philadelphia’s Evening Public Ledger also announced the completion of the Parkway, reporting: "Uninterrupted Parkway at last leads from City Hall to Fairmount's entrance," (November 16, 1918).

The one-mile Benjamin Franklin Parkway stretches to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, connecting the city’s business district to Fairmount Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in the United States. Known as the Parkway Museums District, the cultural destination is home to some of the city’s most treasured museums, including The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, The Barnes Foundation, The Franklin Institute, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Rodin Museum. The picturesque Swann Memorial Fountain at Logan Square is among the Parkway’s most scenic spaces and an example of the Parkway’s abundant public art, with a unique interpretive program by the Association for Public Art (aPA). Locals and visitors like to gather at the Parkway’s pocket parks, including Dilworth Park, Love Park, Cret Park, Sister Cities Park, and The Oval, or run the steps Rocky made famous. Trees and international flags line the boulevard, which is also known for its exceptional architecture. The Cathedral Basilica of SS Peter & Paul, Friends Select School, Moore College of Art & Design, and the Philadelphia Mormon Temple are also here.