Flynn Photography, courtesy Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia
Penny Balkin Bach is Executive Director of the Association for Public Art (formerly Fairmount Park Art Association), the nation's first private non-profit public art organization, chartered in 1872 and dedicated to the integration of public art and urban planning. As a curator, writer, and educator, Bach provides artistic direction for the organization. She works with artists, architects, civic leaders, city agencies, community groups and cultural organizations.
Bach is the Executive Producer of Museum Without WallsTM: AUDIO, an award-winning outdoor sculpture interpretive program for Philadelphia’s public art, available for free by cell phone, audio download, and on the web. In addition, her current activities include the exploration of innovative approaches to public art and its audiences, the creation of opportunities for newly commissioned works, advocacy for responsible stewardship of public art, and the promotion and interpretation of art in public places. She has been a participant on numerous local, national, and international public art juries and advisory committees. Bach currently serves on the national Americans for the Arts Public Art Network (PAN) Council and on the Mayor's Cultural Advisory Council in Philadelphia.
The author of Public Art in Philadelphia, published by Temple University Press, she has written extensively about public art and the environment. Bach wrote on private funding in Public Art by the Book, published by Americans for the Arts and the University of Washington Press. She is an essayist and editor of New•Land•Marks: public art, community, and the meaning of place, published by Ariel Editions, an imprint of Grayson Publishing. Other writings include “Placemaking . . .” published in Japanese by Town Art Co. Ltd, “Intimacy: transforming the impulse for Public Art” in the Spanish language periodical EXIT Book, and “Shared Responsibility: A Discussion about the Conservation of Outdoor Sculpture” in The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter. Well known for her work with artists, she is responsible for developing the Fairmount Park Art Association’s pioneering Form and Function program and accompanying publication.
A BFA graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, she attended Tyler’s fine arts program in Rome and received a MA in Visual Communications and Social Organization from Goddard College in Vermont. Bach received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Moore College of Art & Design.