eakins oval

Starting today and continuing for the next month, Eakins Oval will be a shiny new public space for your enjoyment. Branded The Oval, the surface parking lot that sits in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been spray painted with various designs to make it more welcoming, and various events will give people a different reason to visit every day. You may recall, we first gave you the heads up about this idea a couple of weeks ago.

Overhead shot

We made our way over there today to see what The Oval looks like in real life, and found it to be a pretty cool example of place making. A coat of paint, food trucks, giant-sized board games, and cafe tables all contribute to make it feel less like a parking lot and more like a place that you might want to hang out on a slightly less uncomfortably hot day. We also appreciated the sandboxes at the end closest to the museum, with a couple of lifeguard chairs placed next to them in tongue-in-cheek fashion.

We snapped a bunch of photos, but you really have to see it in person to get the full effect.

Last week, the City announced that beginning on July 17th, Eakins Oval in front of the Art Museum steps will be playing host to an inviting park and exciting project.

From the Parks and Recreation's announcement on their website, "eight acres of public space at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway" will become a place to meet, play, and engage in activities offered by participating organizations. There is more information and renderings here.

Site plan

Running through August 20th, the currently paved parking lot space will convert to large open blocks of pedestrian-friendly turf with inviting benches, a stage for free live entertainment and movie nights, and the city's best food trucks coming through every day. According to the drawings, there will be seating for eating, lawn games to play, sandboxes to dig, and sprinklers for hot days.