Staying Power is an outdoor art exhibition and program series in the Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood of Philadelphia. Staying Power asks artists, residents of the neighborhood, and visitors: What is your staying power in your neighborhood? What is your staying power in a city and world that are rapidly changing? Staying Power seeks to understand, amplify, and invest in the staying power of Fairhill-Hartranft’s neighborhood residents.
Hosted by The Village of Arts and Humanities and curated with Monument Lab, Staying Power features prototype monuments by artists Sadie Barnette, Black Quantum Futurism, Courtney Bowles and Mark Strandquist, Ebony G. Patterson, and Deborah Willis that each respond to the curatorial prompts of the project. The resulting exhibition includes monumental outdoor sculpture, photographic installations, storefront activations, and research and performance engagements, presented alongside The Village’s existing public collection of legacy artworks on the Germantown Avenue corridor of North Central Philadelphia.
Leading up to and through the exhibition, Monument Lab was invited to be in residence at The Village to collaborate with a cohort of paid Fairhill-Hartranft Neighborhood Curatorial Fellows, and work together through various methods of public artistic and research engagement. The project acknowledges and celebrates community residents as curators, thought leaders, and makers. Throughout Staying Power, together with this group, we will also collect public responses to our central questions. This process of listening and learning will inform a final publication on the ideas, structural forces, and relationships that nourish or undercut staying power.
Working with The Village, the artists, and the Neighborhood Curatorial Fellows, we are honored and inspired to explore the pressing issues at the heart of this project. Together, we imagined Staying Power as an exhibition designed to explore the legacies and creative practices that connect or disconnect people from place. We know from experience that collective voice makes room for itself. We dream that in gathering a multitude of responses to the questions driving this project, neighborhood residents, contributors, and visitors to Staying Power will determine what is next for the neighborhood, our city, and beyond.