Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) is expanding into South Philadelphia at the current site of the South Philadelphia branch of the Free Library at Broad and Morris Streets. The plan is a win for the neighborhood but it left out one key detail – what would become of the beloved wooden sculpture by Wharton Esherick entitled Rhythm #1 (1965) that resides in the library?

The EPX Board of Directors, lead by Co-Chair Joseph F. Marino, ensured the sculpture would be part of the new development for all to enjoy. After some persistent follow through with architect Seth Cohen and Free Library executive Joe Benford that included emails containing lines like “Please know that this is an EXTREMELY passionate issue for me and one that I will not let go of easily, if at all!” we received word today from Mr. Benford:

Dear Mr. Marino,

I have some very good news for you. Seth was able to figure out how to manipulate a portion of the ceiling in the new South Philadelphia Library so that the Esherick sculpture will return when the building is completed. The sculpture is now on the second floor of Parkway Central at 1901 Vine and will remain there until the new library opens.


Joe Benford
Chief, Neighborhood Library Services Division
Free Library of Philadelphia


Good work all around!

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