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Paint Torch Sculpture Lights Lenfest Plaza For The First Time

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts officially opened Lenfest Plaza on Saturday with a party on the plaza.

To celebrate its opening at Broad and Cherry Streets in Center City, PAFA lit the Paint Torch at sunset for the first time. The torch is a 51-foot illuminated sculpture of a paint brush, tilted at a daring 60 degree angle, with a blue base and an orange tip.

PAFA Museum Director Harry Filbrick says the Claes Oldenburg masterpiece was meant to be whimsical, "It's a monumental sculpture that has a sense of humor to it and brings a smile to your face."

He says it will be a permanent fixture at the Plaza, which also features long, slightly curved benches where members of the public can come and relax.

Architect David Rubin designed the new plaza. He says it is a bridge between Broad Street and the Art Museum area, "It gives to the city an extraordinary functional civic space, one that would become the threshold to the museum mile."

"It looks really creative and new. I've never seen anything like it," said one visitor.

But that's not all.

"On the west side of the plaza, we will feature temporary sculptures," said Filbrick. "Those will change over time."

Filbrick says he hopes the torch will be a meeting place of serenity and cool.

(Credit: Sean Tucker/PAFA)

Reported by Cherri Gregg, KYW Newsradio 1060

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