Press Release

New Outdoor Installation by Artist Lonnie Holley Now On View

PAFA presents Lost Child, a new outdoor installation by Lonnie Holley, part of "Activate the Plaza: Our Landscape, Our Creativity, Our Community"

PHILADELPHIA (February 5, 2020) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is pleased to present Lost Child, a new outdoor projection installation by the acclaimed American artist Lonnie Holley (b. 1950). On view February 1–April 12, 2020, Lost Child is projected onto the north-facing wall of PAFA's Historic Landmark Building as part of "Activate the Plaza: Our Landscape, Our Creativity, Our Community," a new initiative supported by PNC Arts Alive that brings art directly to the public.

Lost Child is a projected artwork with music, created by Lonnie Holley with Matt Arnett, and edited by Aaron Billheimer, PAFA's Director of Museum Technology. The project continues Holley's longtime investigation of improvisational creativity, integrating his widely acclaimed musical and visual art practices.

The "Activate the Plaza" project at PAFA introduces art programming to Lenfest Plaza through digital projection, drawing inspiration from core themes found in PAFA's museum exhibitions. PAFA has commissioned artists to create a site-specific project for this unusual site. Open to the public, and intimately situated at the center of PAFA's campus, Lenfest Plaza is an ideal urban arena. Through this program, PAFA creates impactful and surprising moments for the arts to impact its community and invites its surrounding neighborhood to be part of the art. This program strives to broaden PAFA's reach: building audiences, engaging the public and breaking down physical barriers in the presentation of fine art. This project is made possible with generous support from PNC Arts Alive.

Lost Child is on view concurrently with Making Community: Prints from Brandywine Workshop and Archives, Brodsky Center at PAFA, and Paulson Fontaine Press, a celebration of nearly half a century of American printmaking. Lonnie Holley's 2017 print, Born into Colors, is featured in the exhibition. On March 20, from 6:00-8:00 PM, Holley will appear in person at PAFA for a discussion, film screening, and live musical performance.

The artist expresses special thanks to Ethan Payne, Cyrus Moussavi, Brittany Nugent, Charles Autumn, George King, William Arnett, David Seehausen, and National Sawdust. The musical element of Lost Child is produced by Matt Arnett and Richard Swift and performed by Lonnie Holley, Richard Swift, Ben Sollee, and Marshall Ruffin.

About Lonnie Holley

Since 1979, Lonnie Holley has devoted his life to the practice of improvisational creativity. His art and music, born out of struggle, hardship, but perhaps more importantly, out of furious curiosity and biological necessity, has manifested itself in drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, performance, and sound. Holley's sculptures are constructed from found materials in the oldest tradition of African American sculpture. Objects, already imbued with cultural and artistic metaphor, are combined into narrative sculptures that commemorate places, people, and events. His work is now in collections of major museums throughout the country (including PAFA), on permanent display in the United Nations, and been displayed in the White House Rose Garden.

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.