Jun 13, 2016

Mural Arts receives grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage

by: Mural Arts Staff

We are proud to announce that Mural Arts is a recipient of a grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for the fall 2017 project Monument Lab: A Citywide Public Art and History Exhibition. 

Public murals take ordinary subjects and made them monumental—the everyday becomes epic and the average person, heroic.

Over the past 30+ years, Mural Arts’ mural making process has provided a public stage for identifying and celebrating the memories and moments that make up our city: residents explore their heritage, pay tribute to neighborhood leaders, and commemorate their unique cultural identities through participatory public art making. Monument Lab builds on this rich history of community creating, reflecting on Philadelphia’s identity as we follow a central, guiding question: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?

Building off of 2015’s Monument Lab, scholar and curator Paul Farber, professor and artist Ken Lum, and curator A. Will Brown will co-produce the exhibition, and Monument Lab’s team of researchers and artists seek a wide body of answers that speak to the core values of a city founded on principles of freedom, justice, and tolerance.

Over four to six weeks in fall 2017, Monument Lab will take place in the central squares of city founder William Penn’s original Philadelphia plan. The squares will host site-specific public artworks designed by a mix of local favorites and international stars, including artists Ai Weiwei, Zoe Strauss, Kaitlin Pomerantz, Kara Crombie, and Alexander Rosenberg. The artworks will range in size and scope and be developed in conjunction with each square. The innovative ideas generated so far include interactive musical kiosks and drum machines, a collapsed visual history showcasing a square’s path from garbage dump to picturesque urban center, walking paths charting a course of 17th century land theft perpetrated against the Lenape people, and an exploration of a the cultural significance of a vacant lot.

Participating squares will also host onsite laboratories beside the public art. At the laboratories, visitors can sketch their vision for the monuments, memories, and concerns significant to Philadelphia, adding to a living body of data to be shared in exhibition at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). Through this interactive, investigative engagement, Monument Lab will give visitors an opportunity to shape public space and be represented in a growing body of research about what Philadelphia is, what it was, and what it can be, through a lens of monumental participation and production.

Stay tuned to Mural Arts’ website and blog to keep track of Monument Lab’s progress throughout this year and next.

Last updated: Jun 13, 2016

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