"As we continue to pull down physical statues, [...] what values need to be established and abolished to rectify a history of monumental neglect and honor a history of monumental existence?" Dixon Li offers an account of Black women's sculpture and Black women's labor—from Edmonia Lewis to Simone Leigh—to offer a different understanding of 'the monumental' in our ongoing public debate around monuments.
Nicholas Hoffman argues that monuments are impermanent, and thus require dynamic modes of historical interpretation that account for the shifts in social and cultural attitudes. As such, acts and markers of commemoration require community involvement in order to reflect multiple cultural histories of St. Louis.
David Cunningham and Alia Nahra reflect on the creative research of students enrolled in the Fall 2019 "Social Conflict" seminar at Washington University in St. Louis. Students reflected on the maps gathered by Monument Lab, the Public Iconographies research team, and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation staff, which covered both existing and demolished monumental objects. Through a sociological approach, students co-organized an exhibit of the maps with an emphasis on the age of each map creator. Read more to learn about what they found.
Geoff Ward comments on one of the most popular monuments that public participants of Public Iconographies included in their maps: the Arch. A popular symbol of St. Louis, the Arch serves as a gateway to the past, present, and future of empire, transatlantic trade, and the place of the role of the Mississippi River.
In St. Louis, certain places and landmarks are remembered differently, depending on who is telling the story. M.K. Stallings discusses one particular place—the S.S. Admiral—as one such site that serves as a reminder of Jim Crow segregation for some people, and a place of fond memories for others.
PhD Candidate Liz Deichmann discusses the lack of arts and culture datasets, and why they are so important to the cultural and social life of local communities. Datasets, like the ones produced by Monument Lab, the Public Iconographies research team, and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, play an important role in remembering the past, marking lived experiences, and addressing inequities.