No longer will visitors have to schlep down to South Philly to see Rocky! As of Friday, the Rocky statue will be moving from the Wachovia Spectrum in the Stadium District back to the Art Museum, where it was featured in Rocky III, albeit in a slightly different location. While I recall a mixed reaction about the idea from some of the art aficionados here, at least it will make it easier for visitors to see the statue. Maybe they will even come in to check out the museum! : ) Here's the article where I found out the news:
Rocky wins split decision to stand near Art MuseumBy Michael Vitez
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
More photosBy a split decision, the Rocky statue has won the right to stand below the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
By a 6-2 vote, the city's Art Commission voted in favor of relocating the 2,000-pound, 8-foot statue of Rocky Balboa onto a cement foundation on the lawn, just north of the Art Museum steps.
Plans call for the statue to be moved tomorrow and unveiled Friday at a 6 p.m. dedication ceremony.
Sylvester Stallone, writer and star of Rocky, is expected. And Jimmy Binns, a longtime advocate of moving the statue to the museum area, said he expected "hundreds of thousands" to attend.
As the sun sets, Rocky will be shown on the museum steps.
A favorable decision was anticipated, but, as with a boxing match, the final decision remained in doubt.
Just last month, six of the members deadlocked, 3-3.
The mayor, the Fairmount Park Commission, and the Art Museum had all approved moving the 25-year-old bronze statue of Rocky Balboa - created as a prop for the movie Rocky III - to the new site.
And events have been planned all week, including a Rocky and Adrian look-alike contest tomorrow sponsored by the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of the first-ever "Philly Loves Rocky Week."
Today, the commission gave all those plans a big thumbs-up.
"In terms of this as a cultural icon over thirty years, it has beared the test of time," said commission member Emanuel Kelly, who voted for the move.
There was little debate, but each of the eight voting commission members in attendance gave an explanation. One opponent, Miguelangel Corzo, said to him the issue was not whether the statue was considered art. He said there is a urinal inside the museum that is considered art.
To him it was more a question of the role of the commission, and doing what's best for the city. He felt the idea of Rocky and the inspiration it provided was already represented by the steps themselves, and the people who run up them every day, and didn't need a phsyical symbol.
He also wondered whether the Rocky statue itself would stand up over time on the Ben Franklin Parkway along with statue's like Rodin's thinker, or the Seasons.
But most commission members felt the statue was beloved and belonged near the museum.
City officials said they had to make some preparations - like pouring a foundation - before the Art Commission's vote today.
"If we waited until we had the vote, we couldn't be ready," said Stephanie Naidoff, the city's commerce director. "This is a reasonable step because it could be undone easily.
"We are very respectful of the Art Commission and of its role," she added, "and we didn't want to go ahead and put up the pedestal and statue and do all the things that should have been done... to beautify the area."
Plans call for walkways to and around the statue, which will reach its arms up 13 feet as its stands on a new bronze pedestal. The statue, city officials said, is in need of washing and waxing, as well as other small repairs. The relocation and repairs are all to be paid for by Stallone, city officials said.
"It's a wonderful symbol of what people can accomplish with hard work and dedication, and this is what Philadelphia stands for," Naidoff said.
The statue, created by artist A. Thomas Schomberg, was dedicated by the fictional mayor in Rocky III at the top of the Art Museum steps, made world-famous in the original movie 30 years ago when the character ran to the top and celebrated his transformation.
After the filming of Rocky III, Stallone made a gift of the statue to the city, and hoped it would remain permanently at the top of the museum steps.
But the Art Commission in 1982 rejected the idea, and a compromise was reached to move the statue - which depicts boxer Rocky Balboa in a victory pose - outside the Spectrum, where Rocky fought Apollo Creed in the original movie and the first sequel.
The statue was returned to the top of the museum steps briefly in 1990 for the filming of Rocky V, but spent the next 16 years back at the Spectrum.
It was taken down earlier this year - in anticipation of use in the latest sequel, Rocky Balboa, due in theaters Dec. 22.
The statue was not used at the steps in the new movie, and remained in storage awaiting its fate. City officials proposed moving it permanently near the bottom of the steps, and Stallone endorsed the idea.