One theme that resonated throughout these selected proposals was spirit. These proposals showcase the actual values that are held by Philadelphia and her residents.
In Philadelphia, you can easily be distracted by the issues caused by division. Whether it is poverty, education, housing, health, or another issue—if you are just looking in on the surface, you would see a struggling and disjointed city. However, when you look deeper into the creative energy and power beaming through the veins and neighborhoods of Philadelphia, you can see truly see underneath that tough and misunderstood layer and discover the realness, vitality, and strength that Philly is all about.
For example, the No More Teddy Bears proposal seems so simple. I was there when the author proposed it. He took literally five minutes to write it down. As he rushed away, he told me that he didn’t want to see any more teddy bears put up around the city on fences and porches that serve as mini memorials to community members who have died from gun violence. This proposal spoke to the trauma that hinders Philly and at first, brought emotions of sadness, anger, and frustration. However, pushing further and valuing the beauty of Monument Lab, I was able to see that the author was really calling for an opportunity to move forward and heal.
All in all, each of the proposals featured here require a second look and an extra push. Not only to appreciate each proposal’s creativity and beauty, whether displayed through its simplicity, words, or illustrations, but also a push to feel the spirit of Philadelphia, for its love, anger, trauma, joy, history, color, dance, and life.