Reading Terminal Market

Reading Terminal Market

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Call to Artists: Redesign of Filbert Street at the Reading Terminal Market




Reading Terminal Market is one of Philadelphia’s most lively and diverse public places and yet patrons step outside from warmth and vitality to a forbidding street, Filbert Street. Reading Terminal Market has received an ArtPlace grant to create a design vision and space management plan to transform Filbert Street, the underpass that connects the Market with a transit hub (SEPTA’s Jefferson station) into an inviting space for events and performances.  The Reading Terminal Market has commissioned Ex;it Design Firm to create a design scheme with street improvements for the space.

In addition to an overall redesign of Filbert Street, RTM aims to commission one artist or artist team to create a site-specific exterior artwork for Filbert Street. Local Philadelphia artists, as well as artists who reside within the Greater Philadelphia area, are invited to submit their qualifications for an opportunity to create a proposal for Filbert Street.

If selected from the first round, artists will receive a stipend, meet with the RTM staff, board and design team, research the site and present site-specific proposals for Filbert Street (timeline below).


Founded in 1892, the Reading Terminal Market is widely recognized as one of the premiere public markets in the United States.  It is open seven days a week, 358 days each year, with over 80 independent small merchants from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Market patrons are diverse in age, ethnicity, race, and income.  With 6.3 million patrons each year, Reading Terminal Market is downtown Philadelphia’s most popular destination.  The majority of Market patrons—approximately 70%-- live in or near Philadelphia. The remaining 30% are visitors to Philadelphia, many of whom are attending events at the Pennsylvania Convention Center located literally across the street.  The Market is a popular venue for lunch for City workers and City residents on jury duty, and an after-school hangout for students at one of the 11 public, charter and Diocesan schools within easy walking distance.  It is the primary source for fresh food for a large, low-income constituency and is one of the Commonwealth’s busiest sites for the redemption of SNAP vouchers (“food stamps.”)  It has more broadly served as the shopping destination of choice for generations of families residing in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Reading Terminal Market is first and foremost a public market, with a century-old mission of providing fresh, local food.  At the same time, the Market also serves the cultural, recreation and civic needs of a heterogeneous population. The mission of the tax-exempt corporation that oversees the Market is:

         To preserve the architectural and historical character and function of the Reading Terminal market as an urban farmers’ market;

         To provide a wide variety of raw and prepared food brought to a public market in the center of the city by farmers, growers, producers and chefs;

         To maintain an environment that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of our citizens and foster their interaction;

         To strengthen the historic link and mutual dependency of our rural and urban communities.

The Reading Terminal Market seeks to commission exterior site-specific public artwork along Filbert Street as part of the redesign of Filbert Street. Goals of the revitalization of Filbert Street include: highlighting the entryway to the Market, creating a welcoming and exciting public space, connecting to the community, activating the space and eliciting response, and beautifying the neighborhood.  

There are not yet limitations as to material or form although the artwork must be permanent (last up to 15 years) and site-specific and abide with all constraints of the space (more information to be provided to selected artists). A budget has not yet been allocated for this commission but may range from $100,000 – $350,000. Budget will be inclusive of all artist(s) fees, insurance, fabrication, installation, travel, and all other project-related expenses.  


Submit CV, brief statement of interest as well as images of their work

  • Submit 6-8 images that best represent your previous work. If applicable, include work that demonstrates your ability to produce outdoor and/or site-specific work.
  • Artists’ statement not to exceed one page.  
  • CV not to exceed more than 2 pages.
  • Artists/ artists team may provide website if applicable.
  • Email the above information to Theresa Rose at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. via a file-sharing program such as Dropbox ( or Hightail (


  • December 23, 2016- submit CV, images and statement
  • Early January 2017- selected artists notified

(For selected artists/ teams from the RFQ round)

  • Pre-proposal Meeting late January 2017
  • Mid February- Electronically submit proposal and visual support materials  
  • Late February 2017- artists present proposals in person
  • Early March 2017- artists notified

Artwork will be selected on the basis of creativity, artistic merit, technical proficiency, and relationship to the site.  Long-term maintenance, durability, and public safety concerns will be major selection criteria. Artists are required to comply with applicable rules, contracts, and procedures of the Reading Terminal Market.

The Reading Terminal Market reserves the right not to accept any of the proposals submitted.

Reading Terminal Market 

12th & Arch Streets

General Manager, Anuj Gupta

Art Consultant, Theresa Rose



 Design for Filbert


Above images:

  1. Reading Terminal Market, Filbert Street to the right of signage below overpass
  2. Filbert Street
  3. EX;IT Design team plans (proposed)
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