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Photo Caption: Photo Constance Mensh © 2014 for the Association for Public Art

The Oval, in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

July 16 - August 17, 2014​​​

Play Museum Without Walls Audio Interview

Commissioned by the Association for Public Art, artist Candy Coated transformed The Oval in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art into a magical environment of color, pattern, illusion, and movement with Magic Carpet. The artist’s exuberant design included 3-D illusion art, brilliantly colored sandboxes, oversized game boards, and her signature decorative motifs rendered in vinyl, among other unique attractions. Magic Carpetwas featured from July 16 – August 17, 2014 at The Oval, an initiative of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy.


Magic Carpet was comprised of 5 distinct areas:

1. “Welcome” – Visitors were welcomed to the Magic Carpet at The Oval with a pathway pattern of blue circles that resembled stylized clouds. This area hosted The Oval stage covered with the artist’s signature designs in the vibrant colors that encompass the Magic Carpet experience.

2. “The Garden Labyrinth” – This area accommodated food trucks along the perimeter and French café tables, chairs, and umbrellas at the center of the site. Under foot was an elaborate arrangement of large diamond shaped rondelle forms that suggested a labyrinth network. Many of the umbrellas on the site were painted with diamond forms that placed visitors in the midst of a space that was energized by pattern and movement.

3. “Totally out of this World (Light Blast)” – This area featured a trompe l’oeil (or trick of the eye) light blast meteor crater, an optical illusion that was a great photo opportunity for visitors. Bright light and gemstones burst from deep below to challenge the senses. Also incorporated into this area were oversized game boards and ping pong tables.

4. “Sensory Transportation” – Visitors could play in diamond shaped sandboxes filled with brilliant pink colored sand, and a water mister feature provided sensory relief and respite. Visitors could explore the giant butterflies and try hopscotch among the pattern of blue circles that bookended Magic Carpet.

5. “The Lawn” – Around the edge of the Magic Carpet was a textile-like border of diamond shapes. On the perimeter of the Magic Carpet were oversized buoys, painted with leaf images and embellished with reflective material that was gently animated by passing traffic. Hanging from the trees were brightly colored vinyl globes hung in pendants with ornamental charms and tassels. There were resting places, playing places, and activities: chairs, balls, volleyball, badminton, bocce, and miniature golf.

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