Monthly Event

Monument Lab: Report to the City

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

8:00 AM - 9:30 AM


Center / Architecture + Design, 1218 Arch St


Monument Lab is a public art and history project based in Philadelphia that comprises a team of curators, artists, scholars and students. Over the last several years, Monument Lab has organized several major public art interventions that asked: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? The prompt fueled a citywide exhibition in 2017 presented with Mural Arts Philadelphia, featuring the installation of 20 prototype monuments in public squares and neighborhood parks, joined by learning labs staffed by youth research teams. Out of this exhibition, we just released our Report to the City, a reflection on nearly 4,500 public monument proposals gathered at the labs with insights into how public participants imagined new monuments. The key priorities reflected in the proposals: Rethinking common knowledge, craving representation, seeking connection with others, and reflecting on process and power. Hear more about this project and next steps from Monument Lab curators Paul Farber and Ken Lum and Mural Arts Program's Jane Golden.

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The Future of the Central Schuylkill Riverfronts


Jane Golden

Jane Golden is Executive Director of Mural Arts Philadelphia, overseeing its growth from a small city agency to the nation’s largest mural program and a model for community development around the globe. Under Golden’s direction, Mural Arts has created more than 4,000 landmark works of public art through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofits, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies. Sought after as an expert on urban transformation through art, Golden has received numerous awards for her work, including the 2018 Anne d’Harnoncourt Award for Artistic Excellence from the Arts + Business Council of Greater Philadelphia; the 2018 Dare to Understand Award from the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia; 2017 ACE (Mentor Program) Person of the Year Award, the 2016 Women of Distinction Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal, the 2016 Paul Philippe Cret Award from the American Institute of Architects, the 2016 Woman of Influence Award from Pearl S. Buck International, the Philadelphia Award, The Hepburn Medal from the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center at Bryn Mawr College, the Visionary Woman Award from Moore College of Art & Design, the 2012 Governor’s Award for Innovation in the Arts, a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award from former Governor Edward G. Rendell, the Adela Dwyer / St. Thomas Peace Award from Villanova University, LaSalle University’s Alumni Association’s Signum Fidei Medal, and an Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship Award. Golden has co-authored three books about the murals in Philadelphia. She is an adjunct instructor at the University of Pennsylvania and Moore College of Art & Design. She holds an MFA from Rutgers University, degrees in fine arts and political science from Stanford University, and honorary degrees from Drexel University, St. Joseph’s University, Swarthmore College, Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, Widener University, Haverford College, and Villanova University. In addition, Golden serves on the Mayor’s Cultural Advisory Council, the Penn Museum Advisory Committee, and the board of directors of The Heliotrope Foundation.

Ken Lum

Vancouver-born artist Ken Lum, is known widely for his conceptual and representational art in a number of media, including painting, sculpture and photography. A longtime professor, he currently is the Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design in Philadelphia.


A founding editor of the Yishu Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, he has published extensively.  He has an active and long art exhibition record spanning over thirty years. 


Since the mid 1990s, Lum has worked on numerous major permanent public art commissions including for the cities of Vienna, the Engadines (Switzerland), Rotterdam, St. Louis, Leiden, Utrecht, Toronto and Vancouver. 


He was keynote speaker at the 2010 World Museums Conference held at the Shanghai Museum in Shanghai.  He was also keynote speaker for the 15thBiennale of Sydney held at the Sydney Opera House in 2006.


Lum was lead research manager for the exhibition The Short Century: Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa, 1945-1994.  He is also active as a curator, co-conceiving and co-curating several major exhibitions including Shanghai Modern: 1919 – 1949Sharjah Biennial 7, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates and the NorthWest Annual in Seattle.  He was Chief Curatorial Advisor for Monument Lab: A Public Art and History Project held in Philadelphia.


He has forthcoming solo exhibitions at Galerie Nagel Draxler in Berlin, Misa Shin Gallery in Tokyo, and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Geneva.  A book of his writings is scheduled for release by Concordia University Press in late summer 2019.

Paul Farber

Paul M. Farber, PhD is a historian and curator from Philadelphia. He is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Monument Lab and teaches courses in Fine Arts and Urban Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He also currently serves as the founding curator of the New Arts Social Justice Initiative at Rutgers University-Newark. Farber's research explores transnational urban history, cultural memory, and aesthetic approaches to civic engagement. He is the author of A Wall of Our Own: An American History of the Berlin Wall (University of North Carolina Press, 2019) that

examines representations of the Berlin Wall in American art, literature, and popular culture from 1961 to the present. He is also the co-editor of Monument Lab (Temple University Press, 2019) and of a special issue of the journaCriticism on HBO's series, The Wire (2011). He has been invited to lecture and lead workshops at the

Library of Congress, New York Public Library, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Barnes Foundation. He also served as the inaugural Scholar in Residence for Mural Arts Philadelphia. His work on culture has also previously appeared in the GuardianMuseums & Social IssuesDiplomatic HistoryArt & the Public

SphereVibe, and on NPR.