June 25th, 2016 – October 2nd, 2016
Spruce Street Harbor Boat Basin
211 S. Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Sculptors is embarking on a new voyage during summer, 2016.  No need for sea legs – just bring your imagination!  In collaboration with the Independence Seaport Museum, Philadelphia Sculptors will launch “Artship Olympia,” an exhibition of site specific installations on the historic Cruiser Olympia, moored in the boat basin at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia.  Artists will creatively reinterpret Olympia, giving voice and vision to its history, stories, and culture. Artworks will be bold, subtle, loud, calming, invigorating, and disruptive. What they won’t be is predictable. Visitors will have access to the exhibition during Olympia’s normal visiting hours with additional special events to be scheduled.


Exhibition now open to the public!

Artship Olympia Artists

Invited Artists

Joanna Platt and Nathan Solomon, Philadelphia, PA

Will animate the ship’s Sick Bay with a series of projections of shadows and traces left behind by sailors injured in wars.

Kevin Blythe Sampson, Newark,NJ

Will re-imagine the space used for the ship’s chapel by constructing “mystical vessels” that will create a call and response between the chapel and its history and the new additions he will be adding.

Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib , Philadelphia, PA

Will create indoor and outdoor videos (outdoor will be projected onto the side of Olympia) using historic footage or recreations of the war in historic fiction to tell a complementary narrative of Olympia’s role in history.

Elizabeth Mackie, Frenchtown, NJ

Will create an interactive sound and video installation with sculptural components using historical research from diaries, photographs and books written about life on the ship.

Mary Mattingly , Brooklyn, NY

Will create an archive of books and text in the former Crew Library on the Spanish American War, and will also create a modular “classroom” where visitors will be able to give input into a collaboratively created inclusive school curriculum.

All artists have been selected for the exhibition. See below for names and project descriptions.

Juried Artists

Gerard Brown, Philadelphia, PA

Will create a suite of banners attached to a railing of the ship that would incorporate symbols from nautical signal flags to transmit a message for the public to decode.

Sarah Burgess, Philadelphia, PA

Will create one or more toys referencing activities pursued by sailors onboard ship, showing the design templates and process of making the objects.

William Chambers, Lancaster, PA

Will install “Listen to the Whales,” an interactive experience where participants are invited to sit on cushions and use “vintage” listening devices to decode whale songs.

Daniel Clark, Narberth, PA

Will transform the Officers’ Shower Room into a white-walled cage holding three gilded eagles that seem to have sprung to life from antique crests or ship figureheads, representing the mind and spirit of the officer

Jacintha Clark, Philadelphia, PA

Will activate the Captain’s Office by recreating charts and documents, as well as tools, uniforms and other objects, out of porcelain.

Cheryl Harper, Paoli, PA

Will portray aspects of officers’ personal appearance by hanging beards and mustaches, surrounded by mirrors and grooming tools, in the Officers’ Washroom.

Sarah Kabot, Cleveland Heights, OH

Will make a rubbing of the surface of a large ship’s cannon that will then be photographed and printed on silk, to be draped in proximity to the original gun.

Joan Menapace, Holicong, PA

Will create 30 soft sculptures of rats, to be sited in both accessible and hidden locations around the ship, offering a challenge for visitors to find them.

Carrie Mae Smith, Bloomington, IN

Will focus on food eaten by sailors, including displays of hardtack, and contrasting officers’ meals with crew meals.

Andi Steele, Wilmington, NC

Will make hammocks constructed of netting made of clear monofilament fishing line to represent the memory of the individual men who served on the Olympia.


Craig Bruns, Chief Curator, Independence Seaport Museum

Jesse Lubovics, Ship Director, Independence Seaport Museum

Pepón Osorio, Tyler School of Art Professor and Community Artist

Sara Reisman, Artistic Director of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation


Philadelphia Sculptors is the only professional organization of sculptors in the Philadelphia region.  Incorporated in 1997, its mission is to promote contemporary sculpture and serve as an advocate for sculptors by expanding public awareness of the role and value of sculpture within our culture. Since its inception, it has organized numerous indoor and outdoor group exhibitions at both traditional and non-traditional venues and has sponsored programs, conferences, workshops and performances.  Membership is open to all.


Independence Seaport Museum deepens the appreciation, understanding and experience of the Philadelphia region’s waterways through history, science, art and community. The Museum maintains one of the largest maritime collections in North America, combining more than 25,000 artifacts with hands-on exhibits, small boat rentals and large-scale models. The Museum houses a traditional boat shop, the Workshop on the Water; the J. Welles Henderson Archives and Library and Penn’s Landing Playhouse. The Museum also includes two National Historic Landmark ships: Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna.

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