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GroundSwell is committed to showcasing how the arts positively impact our communities, and Philadelphia’s vast collection of public art is an integral part of the Philadelphia landscape that enhances our surroundings and is part of the fabric of the city! Each week we will spotlight one of the great pieces of public art that lives in our city. Today, we spotlight “Grumman Greenhouse” crafted by PAFA alum and Philly resident Jordan Griska.


Lenfest Plaza outside of PAFA, is hard to miss – it’s inviting, open year-round, and includes plenty of seating for you to enjoy a lunch-break or just a quick escape for some fresh air. While walking through, you are instantly greeted by mosaic pavers, plantings, and rotating art work from up-and-coming and established artists. However, the most eye-catching piece is the One the Grumman Greenhouse, created by PAFA alum (08’) Jordan Griska specifically for the space.

The life-size sculpture stops you dead in your tracks as you try to make out all of the details of the piece, and that’s exactly what Griska wants from you.  “It leads the viewer to contemplate the history of ‘the thing’ while changing the function of the object.” What exactly is the history of the piece? Grumman Tracker II was a 45-foot-long cold war naval plane with a 73’ wingspan, used to bomb submarines. Griska obtained the decommissioned plane and folded the metal of the nose and body of the plane so that it appears to be crumpling into the platform. In addition, he turned the existing sections of the plane into working greenhouses, leading to the name of the piece: Grumman Greenhouse.

Inside the plane is even more intriguing, with beautiful green life (nutritive and medicinal plants) provided by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS). The edible growth is used to help low income families in the region through the PHS program, City Harvest.

“Jordan’s work engages us in social and environmental issues in extraordinary ways,” says PAFA President & CEO David R. Brigham. “I am pleased to see our alumni creating such ambitious and challenging work.

It’s this type of public art that makes Philly such a vibrant and sensational city! Make sure you see it for yourself and take a look inside a sculpture that combines both past and present.