The Percent for Art Program of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy commissions exceptional and enduring works of site-specific public art by renowned and emerging artists for City buildings and public spaces. Philadelphia’s public art collection is recognized as the largest and most remarkable in the world. Since 1959, more than 300 works of art have been commissioned through the City of Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Ordinance.
The Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy’s Percent for Art Program and the Philadelphia Water Department collaborated with the Department of Parks and Recreation to bring Masayuki Nagase's installation of the "River of Life," a site specific representation of local flora and fauna, to Venice Island's charming outdoor areas. Facets of this design include hand-carved granite benches, sculptural boulders, and engraved tile pavers and medallions that depict images reminiscint of the Schuylkill watershed area surrounding the performing arts center. Nagase's installation concept is based on bringing awareness of the natural and historical context of the surrounding environment.
This Percent for Art opportunity was nationally announced as an open Call to Artists in September 2007 to artists and artist teams. Out of the 176 applicants, nine semi-finalists were selected to present proposals. An independent selection panel, along with representatives from the Philadelphia Water Department and stakeholders from the Manayunk community, recommended Masayuki Nagase for this project.