In Philadelphia, monuments are more than just stone and bronze. They're time capsules that take us back to pivotal moments in American history. From William Penn, the Liberty Bell, to even the Rocky Balboa statue, Philadelphia boasts a wide range of public art that rivals the most famous cities around the world. In fact, Philadelphia holds the world record for the most public art in a single city.
As we take a closer look at Philadelphia's monuments, we'll shine a light on the stories and history often left in the shadows. It’s only right that the Monuments Toolkit took a deep dive into the monuments that the city upholds, the monuments that have caused tension in recent years, and the right path for a city filled with so much history. Together, we'll grapple with the complexities of memory, seeking to understand how these monuments can bridge divides and pave the way for a more inclusive future.
For this conversation, we spoke with Paul Steinke from the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and Harry Philbrick from The Philadelphia Contemporary.
Earlier in his career, Paul Steinke served for four years as the founding Executive Director of University City District, a neighborhood improvement organization that has been central to the revitalization of West Philadelphia. Before that, Paul was a founding staff member of the Center City District, Philadelphia’s downtown improvement agency, where he spent seven years as its Finance Director.
Paul Steinke now serves as executive director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, a membership-based organization whose mission is to promote the appreciation, adaptive re-use and development of the Philadelphia region’s historic buildings, communities and landscapes.
Harry Philbrick has over 25 years of experience in museum management, exhibition development, and educational programming. Philbrick is keenly aware of the challenges of making contemporary art exhibitions accessible to a variety of
Audiences. From 1996 - 2010 he was Director of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, building the Museum’s celebrated new building, developing innovative education programs and leading the museum's exhibition program, working with artists such as Ann Hamilton, Robert Gober, Fred Wilson, and KAWS.
Philbrick founded Philadelphia Contemporary in 2016. The Contemporary‘s mission is to connect the people and places of Philadelphia through art and partnership.
The Monumental Project spoke on the history of the city, the monuments that shape the artistic culture, and how historic structures affect all of us. Enjoy!