Sample Philly

artist Kara Crombie

Sample Philly by Kara Crombie. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About the Project 

In a first for both Mural Arts and artist Kara Crombie, Sample Philly was an interactive sculpture doubling as an outdoor boombox and functioning music production studio. The project was a monument to Philadelphia’s rich musical history, with hundreds of notable songs and crowdsourced samples from local musicians, blending the sounds of past and present from Hall & Oates to the Action Six News theme song.

Passersby in Franklin Square produced their own musical compositions from this vast public archive. Crombie saw this project as a gateway, especially for youth, to remix Philadelphia’s soundscape at a time when tools of musical expression are not uniformly available to all students. Sample Philly grew out of Crombie’s work at The Advocate Center for Culture and Education, where she holds production workshops for teens, with the larger goal of empowering youth with tools of self-expression. “It’s like an ongoing dialogue, not a lecture,” she said of this project.


Lead Monument Lab partners include the City of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy; Historic Philadelphia; Independence National Historic Park; Penn Institute for Urban Research; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Price Lab for Digital Humanities; and the University of Pennsylvania.

Major support for Monument Lab projects staged in Philadelphia’s five squares has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

An expanded artist roster and projects at five neighborhood sites have been made possible by a significant grant from the William Penn Foundation.

Lead corporate sponsor is Bank of America.


Additional support has been provided by Susanna Lachs & Dean Adler, William & Debbie Becker, CLAWS Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, Davis Charitable Foundation, Hummingbird Foundation, J2 Design, National Endowment for the Arts, Nick & Dee Adams Charitable Fund, Parkway Corporation, PECO, Relief Communications LLC, Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square, Stacey Spector & Ira Brind, Tiffany Tavarez, Tuttleman Family Foundation, Joe & Renee Zuritsky, and 432 Kickstarter backers. Support for Monument Lab‘s final publication provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Media partner: WHYY