Get out to get cultured

A gorgeous summer day can pose a difficult dilemma for the more culturally-minded among us — the vacation time and sunny weather may draw us out to museums and galleries, but the art itself is hung in windowless rooms, cut off from the beauty outside.

The Fairmount Park Art Association’s new program, Museum Without Walls, offers the best of both worlds, transforming the Parkway and Kelly Drive into a virtual museum, and visitors’ cell phones and iPods into tour guides.

“Philadelphia has one of the most important collections of public art in the country, if not the world,” said FPAA executive director Penny Balkin Bach last week in LOVE Park. “But it’s also one of the most unknown and unappreciated.”

The program offers three-minute audio narratives for 51 outdoor sculptures at 35 stops, available by dialing a number posted at each piece or via free download or smartphone app. Instead of a droning narrator, the segments feature the actual voices of artists, experts, and others with connections to the work.

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