Declaration House

Monument Lab



Sonya Clark, Reversals rehearsal still, 2019. Photo by Carlos Avendaño.


Sharon Hayes, If They Should Ask, 2017, Philadelphia City Hall. Presented as part of Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Monument Lab. Photo by Steve Weinik.


Public engagement during Monument Lab: A Citywide Exhibition, 2017, produced in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. Photo credit by Steve Weinik.

A public art installation, public programs, and a publication reframe the history of America’s founding, centering on the story of Robert Hemings, an enslaved valet who aided Thomas Jefferson at the Declaration House, the Philadelphia site where Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence. The project’s lead artist Sonya Clark, whose work is concerned with national history and memory, develops an installation that shines a light on Hemings’ legacy and the role Black and Indigenous peoples have played in American history. Additionally, five Philadelphia-area cultural practitioners produce related programs in a “creative programming residency.” The project publication documents the artistic works and reframes what is and is not “self-evident” about the site of the Declaration House across history.

The total grant amount represents project funding plus an additional 20% in unrestricted general operating support.