New summer evening hours, with “Fair Chance Beer Garden” and artist installations, to debut on May 7, 2021
March 26, 2021
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site will expand its offerings to visitors, by day and by night, this spring. On May 7, Eastern State will add three new, original artist installations to its growing collection of site-specific art, on view during all public hours. In addition, that evening, they will kick off Night Tours: Summer Twilight, a summer-long, after-hours event with additional, exclusive programming.
Night Tours: Summer Twilight
Building on the success of its inaugural Night Tours last fall, Eastern State Penitentiary will expand its evening programming with Night Tours: Summer Twilight. Visitors will be invited to explore the historic cellblocks as the sun goes down. Admission will include all of Eastern State’s daytime programming—self-guided audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi, award-winning exhibits, and popular points of interest such as Al Capone’s Cell and Death Row—in addition to some new, exclusive offerings.
Visitors to Night Tours: Summer Twilight can experience the all-new Fair Chance Beer Garden presented by Eastern State Penitentiary and Triple Bottom Brewing Company, two organizations committed to fair chance hiring and social justice storytelling. Located outdoors on the penitentiary’s baseball field, The Fair Chance Beer Garden will offer a selection of Triple Bottom beer for purchase, including Purpose Pale Ale, brewed in collaboration between Eastern State and Triple Bottom.
The Fair Chance Beer Garden will create meaningful, living-wage jobs for people who may otherwise be excluded from the mainstream economy, including people who have experienced homelessness or incarceration, and will only be available during Night Tours: Summer Twilight. Visitors can purchase beverages to enjoy on the baseball field, or to take with them as they continue to explore the rest of the site.
Visitors to The Fair Chance Beer Garden can also participate in hands-on activities as they reflect on Eastern State’s history and legacy of criminal justice reform. Activities will focus on art, writing, and music, and will prompt conversation on issues of justice today. Eastern State staff will be on hand to engage with visitors and offer special presentations each evening, subject to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
A new public artist installation will serve as the last stop for visitors as they exit the penitentiary. Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site and Mural Arts Philadelphia have co-commissioned artist Andrea Walls to create a new, digital artist installation to be projected onto the exterior of Eastern State. Working in collaboration with Mural Arts’ Guild Members of the Restorative Justice program and considering empathy as a framework for social change, Walls’ culminating video will be projected onto the dramatic façade of Eastern State Penitentiary during Night Tours: Summer Twilight.
Coinciding with the Night Tours schedule, this projection will debut on Friday, May 7 and will be shown on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., through September 4. Viewers will be able to play the soundtrack from their smartphones and watch from the sidewalk throughout the evening. This installation will be free and open to the public.
Night Tours: Summer Twilight will run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from May 7 through September 4, 2021. Tickets are on sale now. Ticket prices start at $19. Free for Eastern State members. Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance at www.EasternState.org.
New Artist Installations
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site will host three new and 12 returning artist installations in 2021. Adding to a growing legacy of site-specific art at Eastern State, these projects were chosen for their ability to address the penitentiary’s complex history and introduce perspectives on the contemporary American criminal justice system.
Linda Bond’s Deadly Weapons will be comprised of a wall hanging and bed covering woven with strips of Mylar and colorful shoelaces to reference the experiences of immigrants detained at the U.S. – Mexico border. Artist Patrick Cabry will draw charcoal and mixed media portraits of approximately 500 visitors over the course of 40 hours. Cabry’s installation, 500 Faces of Continuity, was inspired by his own incarceration and brings attention to the challenges people face both while incarcerated and once released. With Transient Room, Ann Reichlin will explore the contradictions of Eastern State’s architecture and historic practices by installing a tipped reflective plane in one of the penitentiary’s cells.
These artist installations will be included with daytime admission to the historic site, and will also be included with admission to Night Tours: Summer Twilight.
Hours and Additional Information
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is open for daytime tours year-round. Current hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Night Tours: Summer Twilight will run Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings from May 7 through September 4. Entry times start at 6:00 p.m. Final entry times vary nightly.
Continued safety measures will remain in place. Staff and visitors ages two and older, including those who are vaccinated, are required to wear masks. Visitors must keep six feet of distance from others at all times. Hand sanitizer is available throughout the site, and visitors will be asked to sanitize their hands upon entry. Plexiglass shields separate visitors from staff at points of contact, and cash is not accepted. Cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces, has been increased.
Timed tickets must be purchased online in advance at www.EasternState.org. Hours of operation and health and safety guidelines are subject to change. For the latest information, the public should visit www.EasternState.org/safety.
Press Preview: Thursday, May 6, 6:00 p.m.
Members of the media are invited to preview new artist installations and Night Tours: Summer Twilight on Thursday, May 6 at 6:00 p.m. Face masks and physical distancing are required. Please RSVP to Nicole Frankhouser at [email protected] by Tuesday, May 4.
About Mural Arts Philadelphia:
Mural Arts Philadelphia is the nation’s largest public art program, dedicated to the belief that art ignites change. For more than 35 years, Mural Arts has united artists and communities through a collaborative and equitable process, creating over 4,000 artworks that have transformed public spaces and individual lives. Mural Arts aims to empower people, stimulate dialogue, and build bridges to understanding with projects that attract artists from Philadelphia and around the world, and programs that focus on youth education, restorative justice, mental health and wellness, and public art and its preservation. Popular mural tours offer a firsthand glimpse into the inspiring stories behind Mural Arts’ iconic and unparalleled collection, which has earned Philadelphia worldwide recognition as the “City of Murals.” For more information, call 215-685-0750 or visit muralarts.org. Follow along on social media: @muralarts on Twitter and Instagram, and @MuralArtsPhiladelphia on Facebook, and phillymuralarts on YouTube.
About Triple Bottom Brewing Company:
Triple Bottom Brewing Company is a craft brewery with a social mission. We celebrate community through great beer and creative collaboration, and work to uplift all members of our community as we build and grow our business. As a fair chance brewery, we create meangingful, living-wage jobs for people who have experienced homelesseness or incarceration, and may otherwise be excluded from the mainstream economy. We believe everyone in every community should have the opportunity to craft something great. Our brewery and taproom are located at 915 Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia. For more information on our mission and how to get our beer, please visit www.triplebottombrewing.com or follow us on Instagram @triplebottombrewing.
About Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site:
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site interprets the legacy of American criminal justice reform, from the nation’s founding through to the present day, within the long-abandoned cellblocks of the nation’s most historic prison.
Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a haunting world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. Known for its grand architecture and strict discipline, this was the world's first true "penitentiary," a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners. Its vaulted, sky-lit cells held approximately 80,000 men and women during its 142 years of operation, including bank robber "Slick Willie" Sutton and “Scarface” Al Capone.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site is open for tours year-round. Admission includes “The Voices of Eastern State" Audio Tour, narrated by actor Steve Buscemi; award-winning exhibits; and a critically acclaimed series of artist installations.
In recent years, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site has been awarded the prestigious Excellence in Exhibitions award by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM), the nation’s highest award in exhibition development and design, for its exhibit Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration, as well as the Institutional Award for Special Achievement from the Pennsylvania Federation of Museums and the Trustee Emeritus Award for Stewardship from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Returning Citizens Tour Guide Project, which hires people who were formerly incarcerated to lead tours of the historic site, has won the EdCom Award for Innovation in Museum Education by the American Alliance of Museums (AAM) and has been featured internationally by such networks as the BBC and others.
For more information, visit www.EasternState.org.
Eastern State receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Recent historic preservation and infrastructure projects were supported in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program - Honorable Governors Tom Wolf and Tom Corbett. Additional support for infrastructure was provided by The National Endowment for the Humanities.
Eastern State’s general operations are supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Eastern State is also funded by the Independence Foundation.
Marketing support for Night Tours: Summer Twilight was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.