Nov 1, 2018

#TBT: Monument Lab

by: Laura Kochman

One year ago, we were deep in the thicket of a three-month-long project called Monument Lab. It was citywide and full of deeply resonant moments, with 20 artists creating work all across the city to interpret the question, “What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia?”

But beyond those 20 temporary installations, we also posed the same question to you. In the words of curator Paul Farber, these proposals were a way “to leave the fingerprints of the people who made them—on those sheets but also on the ways that we report them, that we value them.” Over the course of the project, together we collected thousands of proposals for monuments, including 35 proposals for monuments to the 1985 MOVE bombing, 209 for monuments to women, and 21 related to gentrification.

Monument Lab (now an independent organization) has made the data public through OpenDataPhilly, but if you’re not a statistician, you can read the same Report to the City that was presented to the Mayor.


Lead Monument Lab partners included the City of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Parks & Recreation; Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy; Historic Philadelphia; Independence National Historical 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 was provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

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

Lead corporate sponsor was Bank of America.

Additional support was 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

Last updated: Nov 1, 2018

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