Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia

1/9: The crowd gathers at the late Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard, on the opening day of Monument Lab. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
2/9: The late Terry Adkins’ temporary monument at City Hall Courtyard, the central meeting place for Penn Institute for Urban Research’s Monument Lab. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
3/9: A member of the crowd brainstorms a monument at the Monument Lab “storefront” space in City Hall Courtyard, the day of the project’s opening. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
4/9: A senior from Masterman High School performs at the opening of Monument Lab, at Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
5/9: The crowd at the opening of Monument Lab, at Terry Adkins’ temporary monument in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
6/9: Monument Lab co-curator Paul Farber speaks at the project’s opening in City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
7/9: Monument Lab co-curator Ken Lum speaks at the project’s opening at City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
8/9: Jane Golden, Director of Mural Arts, speaks at the opening of Monument Lab in the City Hall Courtyard. Photo by Lisa Boughter.
9/9: Terry Adkins, Blanche Bruce, and the Lone Wolf Recital Corps perform The Last Trumpet as part of the Performa Biennial 2013. Photo courtesy of the Estate of Terry Adkins and Salon 94, New York.

This project will pose the question: What does a 21st-century urban monument look like? The centerpiece of this exploration, overseen by curators A. Will Brown, Paul Farber, and Ken Lum, will be a temporary monument designed by the late, award-winning artist and University of Pennsylvania professor Terry Adkins, to be installed in City Hall’s central courtyard in the spring of 2015. Adkins’ monument addresses the traumatic wave of Philadelphia school closings that occurred in 2013. A Center City storefront “lab” also located at City Hall, which also opens in the spring of 2015, will serve as project headquarters, where participating artists, curators and Philadelphia citizens will brainstorm and instigate ideas for the appropriate monument for contemporary Philadelphia. This project will precede a planned Philadelphia monuments festival, to take place in 2017.


Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.

Grants & Grantees

Emancipating Cliveden was a radical reinterpretation of Cliveden of the National Trust, based on extensive evidence of the Chew family’s slaveholding.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Alan W. Moore is an art historian and activist whose work addresses cultural economies and groups and the politics of collectivity.

Frank Sherlock is named Philadelphia’s new poet laureate, William Daley receives a solo exhibition at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and poets Teresa Leo, Pattie McCarthy, and Jenn McCreary release new books.

The White Box Residencies invited outside artists to creatively explore and interact with the Center’s physical space.

Grants & Grantees

Candy Coated is a visual artist and a 2002 Pew Fellow.

Grants & Grantees

Spanning avant-garde jazz, modern classical music, improvised music, and klezmer, 2012 Pew Fellow Dan Blacksberg pushes at the technical and textural extremes of his instrument, the trombone.

Grants & Grantees

The Association for Public Art (formerly the Fairmount Park Art Association) is the nation’s first private, nonprofit organization dedicated to integrating public art and urban planning.

A multimedia exhibition exploring the history and impact of the Great Migration (1916–30) on Philadelphia, when blacks fled the South for economic opportunities in the Northern states.

This exhibition, which will be the Eastern State Penitentiary’s first to focus on the current state of incarceration in America, will shed light on this critical contemporary subject.

Grants & Grantees

Mark Shetabi is a visual artist and a 2002 Pew Fellow.

Published in 2001, Curating Now: Imaginative Practice/Public Responsibility documents a symposium that addressed the state of curatorial practice.

Grants & Grantees

Mural Arts explored South Philadelphia’s immigrant history through interactive public art projects that included photography, installations, poetry, and dance.