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Ursinus Photographer Featured in Permanent Public Art Display

Sarah Kaufman, an assistant professor of art and art history in photography, is one of 68 local artists whose work is now at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

The Convention Center, located on Arch Street in Philadelphia, completed acquiring and permanently installing a 127-piece collection of contemporary art at a cost of about $1.5 million in December. The display will launch during a free community festival on June 30 in conjunction with the center’s 25th anniversary.

“I am honored to have my work included in this significant art collection in the heart of Philadelphia and in the company of so many accomplished artists. It’s exciting that the Convention Center was designed with an art collection in mind, demonstrating the value placed on the role of art within the venue. I’m grateful to be part of this highly visible permanent exhibition that highlights Pennsylvania artists for an international audience.” Kaufman says.

The center purchased three of Kaufman’s photographs: Devil’s Pool Diptych #1, Devils Pool Diptych #4 and Devil’s Pool Stone Tree. The photographs, from an ongoing series, explore a swimming hole in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Park and emphasize the value of access to green spaces within an urban setting. The project investigates how people relate to their environment and affirms a human need or impulse to commune with the natural world. The images depict moments of coherence among our bodies and the world around us. 

The installation includes 127 works of art including paintings, sculptures, works on paper and other mixed-media projects by a range of Pennsylvania artists. The Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority formed an all-volunteer expansion art committee comprised of prominent members of the Pennsylvania arts community in 2014 to oversee the selection and installation of fine art.

An open call resulted in 1,550 submissions from Pennsylvania-based artists. A blind jury then reviewed the submissions and made selections based on quality, scale and durability for public viewing.

Kaufman, a Philadelphia resident who received her bachelor’s degree from Haverford College and her master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, has had solo exhibitions of her photography at Saint Joseph’s University, Haverford College, and Soho Photo and Porter Contemporary galleries in New York. She has participated in group exhibitions nationwide.

Kaufman’s photographic and curatorial projects have been reviewed in ARTnews magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Artblog. —By Ed Moorhouse