Monument Lab: Philadelphia (Citywide Exhibition, 2017)

What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? 

This line of inquiry was aimed at building civic dialogue and stoking historical imagination as forces for social change. From September 16–November 19, 2017, the Monument Lab curatorial team and Mural Arts Philadelphia installed temporary prototype monuments by 20 artists across 10 sites in Philadelphia’s iconic public squares and neighborhood parks. 


These site-specific, socially engaged artworks were presented together with research labs. Over 250,000 people engaged with the labs and project sites at the Barnes Foundation and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and close to 4,500 creative monument proposals were collected from Philadelphians and visitors. The proposals operate as a creative dataset of public speculation: they were transcribed and presented in a searchable interface on Monument Lab and are uploaded to OpenDataPhilly; are presented in a final Report to the City that was given  to the Mayor of Philadelphia and the city commissioners; and are included in Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia co-edited by Farber and Lum (Temple University Press, 2019).


Artists: Tania Bruguera, Mel Chin, Kara Crombie, Tyree Guyton, Hans Haacke, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, King Britt and Joshua Mays, KLIP Collective, Duane Linklater, Emeka Ogboh featuring Ursula Rucker, Karyn Olivier, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Kaitlin Pomerantz, RAIR – Recycled Artist in Residency, Alexander Rosenberg, Jamel Shabazz, Hank Willis Thomas, Shira Walinsky and Southeast by Southeast, and Marisa Williamson.

2017 Monument Lab Exhibition

Curatorial Team

Paul M. Farber, Artistic Director

Ken Lum, Chief Curatorial Advisor

Laurie Allen, Director of Research

Will Brown, Deputy Curator

Matthew Seamus Callinan, Director of Exhibitions

Kristen Giannantonio, Director of Curatorial Operations

Justin Geller, Music Director

Maya Thomas, Lab Research Coordinator

Corin Wilson, Project Coordinator

William Roy Hodgson, Exhibition Strategist

Sebastianna Skalisky, Web Design

Conrad Benner, Social Media Coordinator

Justin Spivey/WJE, Structural Engineering


Student Researchers: Alliyah Allen, Molly Collett, Sarah Green, Will Herzog, Jabari Jordan-Walker, and Esme Trontz


Mural Arts Philadelphia Team Members

Jane Golden, Executive Director

Joan Reilly, Chief Operating Officer

Karl Malkin, Chief Financial Officer

Caitlin Butler, Chief Strategy Officer

Nicole Steinberg, Director of Communications and Brand Management

Netanel Portier, Director of Project Management

Zambia Greene, Director of Mural Operations

Ellen Soloff, Director of Tours and Merchandise

Todd Bressi, Interim Director, muraLAB

Chris Newman, Events Coordinator

Operations and Project Managers: Phil Asbury, Nick Gibbon, Maude Haak-Frendscho, Cathy Harris, Judy Hellman, Jess Lewis-Turner, Nicole McDonald, and Gaby Raczka

Communications and Marketing: Laura Kochman, Laiza Santos, and Steve Weinik

Branding and Design: J2 Design

Public Relations Consultants: Cari Feiler Bender and Jan Rothschild

Development: Emily Cooper Moore, Christina DePaul, Naima Murphy, Mel Regn, and Meg Wolensky

Tours and Merchandise: Nancy Davis
and Rachel Penny

Finance: Lissette Goya, Shiffonne Lindsey, and Don Serjani

Crew Members: Gregory Christie, Donovan Freeman, Ryan Spilman, Carlos Vasquez, and Michael Whittington


Lab Research Teams

City Hall

Lab Managers: Pablo Cereda, Joanne Douglas, Samantha Sankey, Yannick Trapman-O’Brien, and Yona Yurwit

Research Fellows: Will Herzog, Georgina Johnson, Caroline Kuchta, Claudia Li, and Donna Mastrangelo


Logan Square

Lab Manager: Preeti Pathak

Research Fellows: Ailisaha Dancy, Cara Navarro, Chiedozie Ndubizu, and Lacy Wright


Franklin Square

Lab Manager: Margaret Kearney

Research Fellows: Percia Billia, Kellie Dinh, Kimberly Muth, Jimmy Wu, and Nancy Zhu


Rittenhouse Square

Lab Manager: Corin Wilson

Research Fellows: Paige Scott Cooper, Lauren Downing, Colleen Heavens, Kaleigh Morrill, Francesca Richman, and Rose Mandel Weinbaum


Washington Square

Lab Manager: Gabrielle Patterson

Research Fellows: Christopher Bechen, Quinn Bowie, Margie Guy, Alexandra Mitrovich, and Lena Popkin


Malcolm X Park

Lab Manager: Mariam Williams

Research Fellows: Faith Danglo, Kayla Johnson, Teresa Salinas, Anthony Simpson, and Ananya Sinha


Marconi Plaza

Lab Manager: Elizabeth Weinstein

Research Fellows: Khin Than Dar Aye, Catheline Phan, Esther San, Esme Trontz, and Alina Wang


Norris Square

Lab Manager: Heryk R. Tomassini

Research Fellows: Samantha Ayala, Corem Correo, Stephanie Garcia, Jocelyn Lacen, Zhenya Nalywayko, and Caseum Wongus


Penn Treaty Park

Lab Manager: Andrew Christman

Research Fellows: Colin Fredrickson, Austin Huber, Nayeli Mejia, Nina Saligman, and Isabella Siegel


Vernon Park

Lab Manager: Sakinah Scott

Research Fellows: Alliyah Allen, Qoura Jones, Sydnie Schwarz, and Raia Stern


Flex Team

Lab Managers: Benjamin Gamarra, Sam Kovant, Eddie Einbender-Luks, Deion Morrison, and Samantha Sankey


Data Team

Artistic Data Research Associates: Heather Emerald Liang, Sidia Mustapha, Ian Schwarzenberg, and Aileen Walsh


Advisory Committee

Tiffany Tavarez (Chair), Vice President, Community Relations and Senior Consultant, Wells Fargo

Alliyah Allen, Haverford College student

Jesse Amoroso, Amoroso’s Baking Company

Sandra Andino, cultural anthropologist

Conrad Benner, Streets Dept

Robert Cheetham, Azavea

Jessica Garz, Surdna Foundation

Bill Golderer, Arch Street Presbyterian Church

Amari Johnson, Africana Studies at Temple University

Malcolm Kenyatta, Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

Claire Laver, Make the World Better Foundation/Urban Roots

Randy Mason, PennPraxis

Loraine Ballard Morrill, iHeartMedia

Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor

Jenea Robinson, Visit Philadelphia

Amy Sadao, Institute for Contemporary Art

Jawad Salah, Klehr Harrison

Sara Schwartz, Social Worker

Elaine Simon, Urban Studies, University of Pennsylvania

Linda Swain, Swain Entertainment

Max Tuttleman, Tuttleman Family Foundation

Amanda Wagner, City of Philadelphia

Kellan White, Political Consultant

Pamela Yau, Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy


2017 Exhibition Partners, Supporters, and Sponsors:

Lead Monument Lab Partners: 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 provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. An expanded artist roster and projects at additional neighborhood sites made possible by the William Penn Foundation. Generous additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. 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