Sky Note

Sky Note:
Temporary Art
by Lauren Thomas

​Re-PLACE-ing Philadelphia is building an expanded archive of cultural memory that includes multiple histories, re-place-ing the established with new narratives and understandings. Notes consider place via the street, sound, food, trees, and other portals.

In partnership with educator Joshua Block, students from Philadelphia's Science Leadership Academy are creating and publishing their Philadelphia Field Notes. Lauren Thomas shares her reflections on the Philly skies at sunrise and sunset.


The skies of Philadelphia have always captured my interest. Yes, it’s easy to find a good sunset anywhere, but I always feel special when my eyes catch golden wisps in between city skyscrapers or the pink cotton candy clouds over the houses of Roxborough and Manayunk. It’s impossible to say that sunrises and sunsets are limited and belong to Philadelphia, but the landscape of the city and all the surrounding neighborhoods add something special and familiar.

All but two of the photos I have chosen to display are exclusively taken of my Roxborough neighborhood street (the other two being from my SEPTA bus stop down the street). I live near an intersection where the tops of houses perfectly frame the sky, along with a old, giant pine tree. I am not an early riser, but each morning I wake up to go to school, it’s with hope that I’ll meet another beautiful and unique sunrise at my bus stop. After a long day of school, I eagerly jump off my bus hoping that I can catch a glorious sunset. 

The beautiful sunrises and sunsets of Philadelphia are a shared piece of culture between the youth. Whenever the sky is particularly beautiful, painted with hues of oranges and pink, there are instantly five posts on Instagram of everyone's unique view in a row, or you receive a snapchat from your friend with the caption “the sky is so pretty!” Seeing these posts and snaps urge me to go outside, no matter how cold or hot it is, to see the sky for myself and to marvel in its beauty. The colors of the sky give me inspiration to share my perspective of this fleeting piece of art, just like many of my friends already have done. 

Sunrise and sunset images may be a cliché, but they’re temporary pieces of art that decorate our city daily and should be celebrated for doing so.

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