August 25, 2023 9:00am 7:00pm
Beyond Granite: Pulling Together Convening – Legacies and Futures of the National Mall
United States Institute of Peace Headquarters 2301 Constitution Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20037

A dynamic day of discussions where artists, curators, and project leaders from Beyond Granite: Pulling Together converge with creators, scholars, activists, and practitioners from the monument landscape. Explore the rich history and transformative power of memory-making on the National Mall as we delve into meaningful conversations and collaborative sessions. 

The Convening features speakers from the National Capital Planning Commission, National Park Service, and the Trust for the National Mall; exhibition artists and curators; and local and regional scholars in art, go-go music, history of the National Mall, Indigenous studies and more. The day’s schedule includes a special program with Beyond Granite: Pulling Together artist Wendy Red Star.

Featured Speakers:
Marcel Acosta, Holly Bass, Tiffany Chung, Teresa Durkin, Paul Farber, Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg, Natalie Hopkinson, Laura Huerta Migus, Maria del Carmen Montoya, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Jeff rey Reinbold, Lauret Savoy, Kirk Savage, Salamishah Tillet, Catherine Townsend, Amber Wiley, and an Indigenous archives conversation with Wendy Red Star and Elizabeth Rule.

For Online Viewers, you can access livestream during the event:

Event is open to the public, advanced registration is required for entry. Seating is limited, register today! This event is ideal for audiences 14 and older, though all-ages welcome.


Doors Open – Continental Breakfast 

8:30-9:00 am 

Welcome Remarks 

9:00-9:30 am 

Greetings from United States Institute of Peace (USIP) leadership. Catherine Townsend, President and CEO of the Trust for National Mall, will illuminate the significant history of the National Mall and the relevance of this transformative project to its legacy. Beyond Granite: Pulling Together Curators, Paul Farber and Salamishah Tillet, from Monument Lab, will introduce the Convening, providing a brief overview of the day's intention and spotlighting the distinguished guest speakers. 

Panel 1: The National Mall: Local, National, Transnational 

9:30-10:45 am 

An enriching discussion on the themes of Beyond Granite: Pulling Together that unearths the untold stories of the National Mall. Join leading scholars and authors in the field as they explore questions that shed light on connections between narratives within this hallowed site and our understanding of the landmark at both local and federal levels. Panelists will delve into the historical backdrop preceding the creation of the National Mall and point toward stories that extend beyond its hallowed grounds. Moderated by Amber Wiley from the University of Pennsylvania, this esteemed panel features renowned scholars and authors sharing insights from their works, including Lauret Savoy (Author of Trace), Natalie Hopkinson (Author of Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City), and Kirk Savage (Author of Monument Wars). 

Panel 2: Envisioning Democracy: Artist Roundtable 

11:00-12:45 pm 

An engaging roundtable discussion that examines the profound influence of artists in shaping and evolving the National Mall. This panel brings together a select group of esteemed Beyond Granite: Pulling Together artists and local practitioners to explore the pivotal role of the arts in civic engagement. How do artists effectively channel and challenge narratives through their creative projects? In what ways do they contribute to envisioning and constructing a more inclusive democracy? The discussion will be moderated by Maria del Carmen Montoya from The George Washington University with insights from artists including Holly Bass (American Woman), Tiffany Chung (Pulling Together, "For the Living"), Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg (In America: Remember), and Paul Ramírez Jonas (Pulling Together, "Let Freedom Ring"). 

Artist Program: Wendy Red Star, Indigenous Archives 

2:00-3:30 pm 

As an artist program of Beyond Granite: Pulling Together, Wendy Red Star and special guest Elizabeth Rule (Author of Indigenous DC) share insights from Indigenous archives and sites of memory, in the nation’s capital and beyond, through the prism of Red Star’s “The Soil You See…” artwork on the National Mall. 

Closing Keynote Conversation 

4:00-5:00 pm 

A conversation between leaders and curators of the Beyond Granite Initiative on the pivotal role of art and storytelling in shaping collective memory, public engagement, and the evolution of the National Mall. The conversation features Marcel Acosta (Executive Director, The National Capital Planning Commission), Teresa Durkin (Executive Vice President, Trust for the National Mall), Paul Farber (Director, Monument Lab & Co-Curator of Pulling Together), Jeff Reinbold, (Superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks), and Salamishah Tillet (Professor, Rutgers University-Newark & Co-Curator, Pulling Together), and is moderated by Laura Huerta Migus (Deputy Director, the Institute of Museum and Library Services). 


5:00-7:00 pm 

All Convening participants and audience members are invited to a lively and complimentary reception at USIP. Join us for an exciting evening of conversation, food and drinks. It's the perfect opportunity to connect with fellow attendees, forge new connections, and celebrate the launch of this historic exhibition.

This event is part of the Beyond Granite: Pulling Together exhibition on the National Mall from August 18 - September 18, 2023.