More Culture:

June 26, 2018

PHOTOS: What's with all those bouys floating on the Schuylkill River?

Their purpose is deeper than you might think

The Arts Mural Arts Philadelphia
Carroll - Tide Field Art Installation at Bartram's Garden Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Tri-color bouys in the Schuylkill River near Bartram's Garden are part of an art installation by artist Stacy Levy and Mural Arts Philadelphia.

You might’ve already seen them. Those multi-colored bouys either floating on or sticking out of the surface of the Schuylkill River. If you're wondering what they are, you’ve come to the right place.

Those bouys are part of an initiative from Mural Arts Philadelphia and Bartram’s Garden in collaboration with artist Stacy Levy. The installation entitled "Tide Field" consists of nearly 250 strands of tri-colored spheres installed in 11 different locations on the Schuylkill River.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The bouys float in the Schuylkill River and become more or less visible depending on the river's depth due to tidal change. They also change direction with the Schuylkill's current and wind conditions.

The bouys become more or less visible depending on the depth of the water due to the river's tidal changes.


PHOTOS: Philadelphia's Rail Park officially opens


They also change direction based on the river's current and wind conditions. 

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The bouys were installed a part of the Art@Bartram's initiative, with hopes of connecting people to the Schuylkill River and raising awareness of water-related environmental concerns.

But intent of these bouys goes beyond visual appeal.


RELATED: Rodin Museum Garden Bar is new, outdoor spot to drink along the Parkway 


“Tide Field is creatively using art to connect people to the river and enhance their awareness, understanding, and experience of the river and its surrounding landscape,” said Andrew Johnson, program director for watershed protection at the William Penn Foundation. “Our hope is that people leave with a greater appreciation for the value of clean water and feel inspired to play a part in protecting it."

The installation will be removed in November and recycled into future projects.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Artist Stacy Levy spoke Tuesday, June 26, along with Jane Golden, Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, and Bartram's Garden Executive Director, Maitreyi Roy.

In addition to Tide Field, Levy also installed six wooden boat-like structures in Bartram’s Garden and along the Bartram’s Mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail entitled "River Rooms."


RELATED: There will be five 'ShakesBEER' performances in Manayunk this summer


These give people a place to sit, contemplate and experience the nature of the river and surroundings, similar to what those who fish along the banks experience – except the fishing isn’t required. 

Below are additional photos of "Tide Field" and "River Rooms." 

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Another installation in Bartram's Garden and along the Bartam's Mile section of the Schuylkill River Trail consists of a series of wooden platforms entitled River Rooms, that resemble the hull of a boat.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

“The fisherman get the peacefulness that the river gives you”, says Stacy Levy, “[The River Rooms] give you a fishing experience without fishing.” This River Room is located on the Bartram's Mile trail along the Schuyklill River and offers a place to sit, contemplate and experience nature.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Artist Stacy Levy calls this the 'Fishing Room' as it's close enough to the Bartram's Garden waterfront is to be used for that purpose. 'Tide Field' bouys can be seen on the river's surface in the distance.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Another 'River Room' is perched on the hill at Bartram's Garden offering a great view of the Philadelphia skyline and a field of wildflowers.

Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The position of the bouy and its shape changes based on the depth of the river. When the tide is high, the bouys stick out of the water, arc and bend towards the surface, as seen here near the Schuylkill banks Boardwalk.