The Art Garden
The small plot of land is located on Prince Street directly across from the PCA&D campus. The park was imagined in 2003 when the art college proposed the space as a temporary art garden next to the then-newly built Lancaster police building on Chestnut Street. It was owned by the city until 2012 when the college purchased the land.
The Art Garden again became a pivotal forum to amplify community voices during the Black Lives Matter movement. We are heartened to see our Art Garden play a vital role in the larger community’s efforts to amplify voices, to affirm the Black Lives Matter movement, and to highlight the need for systemic change.
Noting that the park was still greatly lacking art, the College added a silver ampersand as a symbol of “forging, building, and deepening connections.” The ampersand, which stands about 10 feet tall, was built for PCA&D President Michael Molla’s inauguration.
After years of discussing the park’s purpose at city council meetings, designers Gail Anderson and Joe Newton created the 60-foot Create/Influence sculpture as the first permanent art installation in the College’s Art Garden. The sculpture is constructed on the side of a city-owned wall and reads “influence” or “create,” depending on the viewer’s perspective.
The College purchased the lot from the city in September of 2012 (thanks to a generous gift by philanthropists and artists Suzanne and Ronald Schrotberger) in order to continue to preserve the space for College activities as well as a holding space for future development needs of PCA&D.
“The Art Garden was imagined as a place for ‘convocation’, creative gatherings to engage the Lancaster Community,” college President Michael Molla said in an email.
The College chose not to brand the park with its own name but instead decided to allow the space as a place for art that exemplified the College’s mission to create.
In this year also, Occupy Lancaster would return to the park to protest the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
The park became a prime location for the Occupy Lancaster movement, with protesters calling for an end to corporate greed. The Occupy movement spread globally in 2011 in opposition to social and economic equality. Protesters camped in the park for more than three months.
The College proposed creating an Art Garden as a temporary beautification effort for the 12,000-square-foot space, both as a way to be more welcoming and as a green space for city residents and the College community to enjoy. Located on the corner of Prince and Chestnut streets in the heart of Lancaster City, grass and trees were added, as well as seating and tables to enliven the city’s arts and cultural district.