Shining a Light on the Beacon Sculpture
Independence Mall’s newest sculpture captures the spirit of the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center
This summer, locals and tourists in Philadelphia will notice a striking new sculpture on Independence Mall. The Beacon, part of the new Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, rises above the lobby in three graceful ribbons. For guests to the center, the Beacon is an unforgettable first stop on their journey to discovering how biblical values like faith, liberty, and justice inspired the men and women who shaped the United States of America.
FROM CONCEPT TO CONSTRUCTION
The Beacon sculpture was designed by Local Projects, a New York design studio known for connecting people to cultural institutions through meaningful interactions. It was produced by New York’s Urban Arts Projects in partnership with Philadelphia’s FKB studio, which fabricated the entire sculpture in-house.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these skilled design and fabrication partners worked alongside the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center to bring the Beacon to life. We are immensely grateful for their expertise, dedication, and collaboration!
Guests are greeted by the Beacon’s intertwined base upon entering the center. The sculpture, which rises through the lobby roof, stands more than four stories tall and is completely surfaced in white thermoformed DuPont Corian® Solid Surface. Guests might be surprised to learn that this stunning sculpture uses the same durable material as many kitchen countertops. This product’s seamless surface and natural shine helped create the Beacon’s signature design.
At the center of the Beacon’s three strands is a large opening called the oculus, which allows natural light to pour down onto guests as they stand in the middle of the sculpture and look up at the sky. The sculpture has already become a favorite selfie spot for guests to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center.
VISUALIZING FAITH, LIBERTY, AND JUSTICE
While the flowing lines of the Beacon sculpture draw guests’ eyes upward, its meaning can be found in the three words encircling its base: Faith. Liberty. Justice. These words are part of the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center’s core message to guests—that faith guides liberty toward justice.
The values of faith, liberty, and justice also connect to the sculpture’s three strands. Each strand represents one of three foundational documents that were essential to the creation of the United States: liberty points to the Declaration of Independence, justice points to the Constitution, and faith points to the Bible. During their journey through the center, guests learn more about how these essential documents became the foundation for American democracy.
In addition to galleries dedicated to faith, liberty, and justice, guests will also encounter the values of hope, unity, and love, which have inspired generations of American Changemakers influenced by the Bible’s message.
A REMINDER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE
The Beacon’s name is reminiscent of a key Bible verse featured in the center’s Unity gallery: “You are like light for the whole world” (Matthew 5:14a GNT). As they complete their visit to the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center, guests are encouraged to consider how they might be inspired by the stories they encountered in the Center, and how they too can make a positive contribution in their own communities.
You can see the Beacon at 5th and Market Street in Philadelphia’s historic Old City. We also invite you to visit the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center to experience the full story around this iconic sculpture!
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