Press Room

PennDesign Faculty Awarded 2014 Pew Center Grants

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center), has awarded a $72,000 grant for a project titled “Monument Lab: Creative Speculations for Philadelphia” exploring the questions: What is the ideal monument for the current City of Philadelphia and what does a 21st century urban monument look like?  
The project will be co-curated by Fine Arts Professor and Undergraduate Director Ken Lum, A. Will Brown, Curatorial Assistant of Contemporary Art at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI, and Paul M. Farber, Postdoctoral Writing Fellow at Haverford College and scholar of American and Urban Studies with the Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) as a supporting institution. 
“Understanding the role of monuments in the 21st century city is a way of understanding the city itself: what it values and how it commemorates and memorializes important people or events,” said Professor Lum. “We are interested in understanding what monuments look like today, what they say about our collective values, and how they shape—and are shaped by— the 21st century city.” 
The centerpiece of the project will be a temporary monument designed by the late, award-winning artist and University of Pennsylvania Fine Arts professor Terry Adkins, to be installed in City Hall’s central courtyard. Adkins’ monument addresses the traumatic wave of Philadelphia school closings that occurred in 2013. A Center City storefront “lab” located in walking proximity to the monument will serve as project headquarters, where participating artists and curators will brainstorm ideas for “the appropriate monument for Philadelphia in the year 2015.” This project will precede a planned Philadelphia monument festival, to take place in 2016 or 2017.
The three curators will foster programming and public events, including a collaboration with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and a series of creative proposals from Philadelphia artists Zoe Strauss, Alexander Rosenberg, Kara Crombie, and the collaborative We The Weeds made up of artist Kaitlin Pomerantz and botanist Zya Levy. 
Brent Wahl, PennDesign photography and Visual Studies senior lecturer in photography, was also named a 2014 Pew Fellow. For more information, visit