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Facilities Update
PA Convention Center Unveils Historic Mosaic Mural In Broad Street Atrium
Four Philadelphia Themed Mosaics Were Originally Displayed
in the Architects Building (Hotel Palomar)

The Pennsylvania Convention Center and Hotel Palomar recently celebrated the unveiling of a series of restored historic mosaics in the newly renovated Broad Street Atrium of the Convention Center. The four Philadelphia-themed murals originally were designed in 1964 by Italian artist Bogdan Grom. The artist’s works are represented in private and public art collections in both Europe and the United States.

Grom’s mosaic panels hung in the elevators of the Architect’s Building at 17th and Sansom Streets in Philadelphia for more than 40 years. Each mosaic depicts well-known sights in Philadelphia; City Hall and the Skyline, Elfreth’s Alley, the Swan Fountain at Logan Circle and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

During the renovation of the Architect’s Building in 2009 into its current incarnation, The Hotel Palomar, construction managers de-installed the mosaics from the elevators to preserve their artistic integrity. Seeing an opportunity to display these artworks in a more prominent setting, Nick Gregory, the Philadelphia-area director of operations for Kimpton Hotels (owners of Hotel Palomar), generously donated the tiled mosaics to the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

“We appreciated the opportunity offered by Nick Gregory and the Hotel Palomar to showcase these mosaics in our expanded center,” said Ahmeenah Young, president and CEO of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority. “The four depictions of the City of Philadelphia are remarkable and we couldn’t be happier to call the Convention Center their new home.”

Each of the four panels is made with multi-colored “Smalti” glass, imported from the Mario Dona Company in Spilimbergo, Italy, and set in cement mortar with plain bronze frames. Each mosaic measures more than seven feet tall and approximately five feet wide. “When we uncovered these priceless pieces of Philadelphia art history during our renovations, we knew we had to find a new home for the art where they could be enjoyed,” said Gregory.

Three of the four mosaics required extensive restoration work to return them to their original splendor. Working in close contact with Mr. Grom, the Convention Center oversaw a two-year restoration that made several aesthetic improvements to the mural. Replacement “smalti” glass was sourced to supplant missing tiles, and each mosaic was thoroughly cleaned of excess dirt, grime, residues, plaster, accretions and restoration materials. The freshly renovated mosaics now hang in the 1st floor lobby of the $787 million expansion of the Convention Center.



Pictured here (Left to right) Gregory, Young, Judith Stein, former curator of the Convention Center Art Collection, and artist Bogdon Grom celebrate the restoration of Grom’s artwork at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
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