Beyond Granite: Pulling Together

Monument Lab was invited by the the Trust for the National Mall to curate Pulling Together, the pilot exhibition of the Beyond Granite initiative on the National Mall from August 18-September 18, 2023. The exhibition featured prototype monuments that respond to the central question, “What stories remain untold on the National Mall?” Beyond Granite: Pulling Together built out platforms for artist-led civic engagement, historical interpretation, and storytelling as a means for advancing what it means to imagine, build, live, and grow with monuments in the nation’s capital and beyond. This project, a partnership among the Trust, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) and the National Park Service (NPS), was funded by the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project.

Beyond Granite: Pulling Together was inspired by the 1939 Easter Sunday performance of renowned Black opera singer, Marian Anderson, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, as she was barred from nearby Constitution Hall due to segregation in the capital. Her performance remains monumental in public memory with educator and civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune remarking at the time that the performance “told a story of hope for tomorrow–a story of triumph–a story of pulling together, a story of splendor and real democracy.” The goal of the exhibition was to bring together innovative and experimental forms of monumentality and memory-making to shine a light on and acknowledge Indigenous legacies, histories of enslavement, civil rights, LGBTQ activism, pathways for immigration, environmental justice, and other narratives of American struggle and survival.

Director and Founder of Monument Lab, Paul Farber, and Pulitzer Prize Winner,  Salamishah Tillet, curated the exhibition, treating monuments as “a statement of power and presence in public.” They guided the creative process for identifying and curating the artists, installations, and sites for the exhibition. 

Monument Lab was proud to present the work of six visionary artists on the National Mall. Click here to view the complete exhibition guide.

CBS News Sunday Morning | September 2023
Art on the Mall: American diversity on display
The Washington Post | August 2023
Art on the Mall! They put art on the Mall!
New York Magazine – The Cut | August 2023
Public Art Tells a New Story on the National Mall
American Planning Association | August 2023
Using Public Space to Expand Storytelling on the National Mall
Monocle on Design | August 2023
'Beyond Granite’, Bandaloop, At Kollektive
Smithsonian Magazine | January 2023
The Most Anticipated Museum Openings of 2023
American Historical Association | November 2023
Playing Tourist at Home: An AHA Field Trip to the National Mall

Monument Lab Team Members
Paul Farber Co-Curator, Newspaper Co-Editor, Signage Lead
Salamishah Tillet Co-Curator, Newspaper Co-Editor
Nico Rodriguez Melo Lead Project Manager, Project Manager for vanessa german's Of Thee We Sing and Paul Ramírez Jonas's Let Freedom Ring
Maya Bjornson Assistant Project Manager
Matthew Seamus Callinan Preparator, Project Manager for Tiffany Chung’s For the Living and Ashon T. Crawley’s HOMEGOING
Amelia Carter Program Relations
Gina Ciralli Project Manager for Derrick Adams’s America’s Playground: DC and Wendy Red Star’s The Soil You See…
Jen Cleary Accessibility Co-Lead, Welcome Station Lead, Technology Specialist
Kristen Ginnantonio COO, Support, Staff Coordinator
Yannick Trapman-O'Brien Programming Coordinator
Jonai Gibson-Selix Activities Design
Will Hodgson Renderings
Florie Hutchinson Media Lead
Adele Yiseol Kenworthy Assistant Project Manager
Gebby Keny Intern
Patricia Kim Newspaper Managing Editor
Sue Mobley Research Support, Engagement Form Lead
Diana Molina Intern
Aubree Penney Assistant Curator, Accessibility Co-Lead, Daily Activities Lead, Newspaper Editorial Coordinator
Stephanie Pescitelli Advancement Coordinator
Maya Plimack Intern
Dina Paola Rodriguez Social Media Strategist
Yannick Trapman-O'Brien Program Relations
Tina Villadolid
Senior Staff Manager, Activities Support, Assistant Project Manager
Elliot Waters-Fleming Assistant Project Manager

Monument Lab Board of Directors
Tiffany Tavarez Chair
Monica O. Montgomery
Vice Chair
Lola Bakare
Stephan Nicoleau Treasurer
Ellery Roberts Biddle
Amari Johnson
Michelle Angela Ortiz
Kirk Savage

Gretchen Dykstra Copy Editor
Connie Harvey Lead Designer
Wes Holloway Accessibility Consultant
Rabiya Kassam-Clay Educational Consultant
MING Media Photography and Video
Ashley J. Mitchell Photography
Blair Richardson, MiniSuper Studio Lead Designer, Illustrator
Symone Salib Illustrator
Justin Spivey Structural Engineer
Steve Weinik Photography

Exhibition Team Members
Ama BE
Exhibition Team Manager
Hannah Cianci
Logan Fillizola
Rondez Green
Nick Hemenway
Exhibition Team Manager
Kitty Holbrooke
Shelby Hubbard
Miriam Julianna
Dylan Krinberg
Kishanna Laurie
Exhibition Team Manager
Exhibition Team Manager
Grace Marra
Martina Maya-Callen
Jessica McNeil
Enrique Morales
Jose Portillo
Natalia Ames Ramello
Ananya Shaw-Taylor
Chasity Smith
Jayne Thomisee
Natalia Ventura
Savannah Imani Wade
Adam Washiyama Shulman
Exhibition Team Lead for Paul Ramírez Jonas's Let Freedom Ring
Kerry Webster

The Trust for the National Mall Team Members
Catherine Townsend President & CEO
Teresa Durkin Executive Vice President, Beyond Granite Principal
Julie Moore Vice President of Communications
Lauren Wilson Senior Project Manager, Beyond Granite Project Manager
Tricia Edwards Event Manager
Hana Hancock Communications Manager
Destinee Hodge Senior Director of Special Programs
Eduard Krakhmalnikov Director of Public Engagement Programs
Jasmine Musgrave Manager, Marketing and Communications
Erin Plant Public Engagement Manager
Jack Ronayne Public Engagement Assistant
Aaron Webb Senior Manager of Marketing and Communications
Natalie Shanklin Communications Manager (Emeritus)
Special thanks to Alpha Corporation

National Capital Planning Commission Team Members
Marcel Acosta Executive Director
Julia Koster Secretary to the Commission & Director of the Office of Public Engagement Johanna McCrehan Urban Planner, Policy & Research Division
Stephen Staudigl Public Affairs Specialist, Office of Public Engagement
Brittney Drakeford Urban Planner, Policy & Research Division
Angela Dupont Senior Urban Planner, Policy & Research Division
Paul Jutton Graphic Designer
Melissa Lindsjö Urban Planner, Policy & Research Division
Michael Sherman Director, Policy & Research Division

National Park Service Team Members
Jeffrey Reinbold Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks
Caridad de la Vega Cultural Resources Program Manager
Brian Flynn Landscape Architect
Sophia Kelly Chief of Staff
Yue Li Chief of Professional Services
Mike Litterst Chief of Communications
Robin Nixon Chief of Partnerships
Marisa Richardson Chief of Permits Management

Justice & Sustainability Associates Team Members
Mercer “Don” Edwards Co-Founder & CEO
Donzell Robinson COO & Principal
Alexis Robinson Associate
Nina Young Project Coordinator

Evaluation Consultant
Elizabeth Morton Professorial Lecturer in Sustainable Urban Planning, George Washington University

LINK Strategic Partners Team Members
Michael Akin President
Christian Clansky Director of Community Engagement
Kennedy Chester Project Manager
Eugene Kinlow Associate
Sheena Pegarido Vice President, Communications and Events
Linda Roth Media Advisor
Molly Flores Project Manager (Emeritus)

Curatorial Advisory Board
Kevin Gover Under Secretary for Museums and Culture, Smithsonian Institution
Toni L. Griffin Founder, urban american city; Professor in Practice of Urban Planning, Harvard Graduate School of Design / Beyond Granite Lead Consultant
Laura Brower Hagood Executive Director, DC History Center
Martha S. Jones The Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History and a Professor at the SNF Agora Institute, The Johns Hopkins University
Bryan Lee Founder/Director, Colloqate Design
Laura Huerta Migus Deputy Director, Office of Museum Services, Institute of Library and Museum Services
Maria del Carmen Montoya Artist, Ghana ThinkTank; Associate Professor Sculpture and Spatial Practices, Corcoran School of Art and Design
Katrina Phillips Associate Professor of History, Macalester College
Monica Rhodes Harvard LOEB Fellow
Kirk Savage William S. Dietrich II Professor of History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh
Jason Schupbach Dean of the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University / Beyond Granite Lead Consultant
Amber Wiley Matt and Erika Nord, Director, Center for the Preservation of Civil Rights Sites, University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design

Photo credits
Wendy Red Star, The Soil You See... (2023). Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.
vanessa german, Of Thee We Sing (2023), photographed by Steve Weinik, 2023.
Derrick Adams, America's Playground: DC (2023). Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.
Ashon T. Crawley, HOMEGOING (2023). Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.
Paul Ramírez Jonas, Let Freedom Ring (2023) Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.
Tiffany Chung, For the Living (2023). Photo by Steve Weinik, 2023.

Major support for Beyond Granite is provided by the Mellon Foundation.