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Philadelphia Assembled, a Radical Community-Building Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, Philadelphia Assembled manifests in over 60 actions, installations, and performances meant to illuminate a set of hopes and questions for the city.

Philadelphia Assembled’s shared workspace features a growing network map, documenting the work collaborators have been doing for years in their neighborhoods, and drawing new connections between communities of resistance in the city.

The first exhibition of its kind at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Assembled (PHLA) is a project that tells a story of radical community building and active resistance.

Initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, working alongside an extensive network of collaborators — among them artists, builders, storytellers, gardeners, healers, and activists — the project brings together the voices of those who care about Philadelphia’s changing landscape and who seek to champion and secure equitable and just futures for its communities. Deeply integrated into the fabric of the Museum, the project also questions the role of the institution at a time of heightened transformation. Challenging, inspiring, and as expansive as the city, PHLA asks: how can we collectively imagine our futures?

From now through the summer, the project manifests as a series of over 60 actions, installations, and performances across the city to illuminate and amplify a broad set of hopes, visions, and questions for Philadelphia. Following this season of programs, PHLA will culminate in an exhibition at the Museum from September 10 to December 10, 2017. This participatory installation will transform the Museum’s Perelman Building galleries, café, and store into a civic stage where the city is performed, celebrating the sights, sounds, and tastes of this resilient city’s multi-faceted identity.

Denise Valentine, a PHLA collaborator and Philadelphia storyteller, reflected on this process: “We intend to re-imagine the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a place to unearth stories hidden deep in the soil of Philadelphia. We envision a place where narratives of the enslaved, the incarcerated, the displaced, and the disenfranchised are held in as high esteem as Eurocentric ideas about art, history, and culture.”

Join the Philadelphia Museum of Art this spring for a shared meal, a public procession, a series of teach-ins, a morning dance party, or a marketplace festival.

You can also engage with PHLA by visiting the project website and share your experiences via #phlassembled @phlassembled @philamuseum.