281 Jody Pinto


At nineteen, I came to Philadelphia for a visit and stayed twenty years. I went to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. “Philly” was a different city–I watched it grow and grew with it. Philadelphia artists were given amazing support by the PMA, the ICA, the Marian Locks Gallery, university and art college galleries, and the Nexus artist collective.

In 1981, the Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) gave me my first permanent public art commission–“Fingerspan” Bridge, built in 1987 in Fairmount Park. It is a weathering steel-enclosed bridge. Shaped like a bent finger, “Fingerspan” is a practical and symbolic reach. Passing over the bridge, continuing the physical experience of a hike, one metaphorically becomes the muscle of “Fingerspan.” The bridge skin, perforated steel, permits light within the entire structure while protecting the hiker from falling.

My contribution to “My Philadelphia Story” is an Armored Finger Ring. Years ago, when we were traveling, my partner saw this ring and gave it to me. Wearing it, I am reminded of scale, beauty and protection–the elements I intended for “Fingerspan” Bridge.