Philadelphia Assembled is an expansive project that tells a story of radical community building and active resistance through the personal and collective narratives that make up Philadelphia’s changing urban fabric. These narratives will be explored through a collaborative effort between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a team of individuals, collectives, and organizations as they experiment with multiple methodologies for amplifying and connecting relationships in Philadelphia’s transforming landscape. Challenging, inspiring, and as big as the city, Philadelphia Assembled asks: how can we collectively shape our futures?


Initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, together with a collaborative team of artists, makers, storytellers, gardeners, healers, activists, Museum staff and community members, Philadelphia Assembled explores social issues that resonate in "The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection." Within this project, these urgent concerns are organized around five principles, or what van Heeswijk terms "atmospheres": Reconstructions, Sovereignty, Futures, Sanctuary, and Movement. The subject of each atmosphere was derived from the artist's preliminary conversations with people throughout Philadelphia about the city and its character. Reconstructions engages with (re)writing personal and historical narratives and (re)imagining the built environment; Sovereignty asks questions about self-determination and forms of freedom; Futures seeks to reclaim the past and the present in order to decolonize and re-design the future; and Sanctuary unpacks the complexities of seeking and making safe space across the city. The Movement atmosphere is dedicated to modes and methodologies of dissemination, including education, performance, production, and mapping. Through Movement, knowledge, skills, and narratives are assembled, distributed, and re-enacted.

in the city + at the Museum

In spring 2017, Philadelphia Assembled manifested as a series of actions, conversations, meals, installations, and other events throughout the city. What we built together is now a communal presentation at the Museum's Perelman Building, becoming a civic stage where the city is performed.

In the midst of Philadelphia's changing infrastructure, demographics, and economy, Philadelphia Assembled asks questions about what histories can be rewritten (Reconstructions), what resources can be shared (Sovereignty), what futures can be imagined (Futures), what asylum can be offered (Sanctuary), and how can we disseminate our collective learning (Movement).
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