Funeral for a Home

Temple Contemporary



3711 Melon Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104. Photo by Patrick Grossi, courtesy of Temple Contemporary.


Members of Mt. Olive Baptist Church Choir sing at 3711 Melon Street during Temple Contemporary's Funeral for a Home service on Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo: AP/Jessica Kourkounis.


Members of local drill team Unique Miracles prepare to perform in a neighborhood procession near 3711 Melon Street, Saturday, May 31, 2014. Photo: AP/Jessica Kourkounis.


After Temple Contemporary's Funeral for a Home community procession, guests were invited to a sit-down reception for 300 on Melon Street. Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera America.

Temple Contemporary celebrated the life of a single row home before it was razed. The chosen home, 3711 Melon Street, in the Mantua neighborhood of Philadelphia, was one out of 500 slated to be torn down in Philadelphia in 2014. In May 2014, the home received a "funeral" to mark its passing: a free public event that included a procession of local residents and clergy, youth orchestra and gospel choir performances, and a remembrance service at which neighbors and family members of the home's residents paid their respects. The Funeral for a Home project served as a direct response to years of widespread demolition in sections of Philadelphia, in an effort to generate critical thinking, discussion, and action around issues of housing redevelopment and preservation. Project staff collected personal stories about the home and transformed them into archived public art and history in related events and a culminating limited-edition art book full of archival material, essays, and ephemera. As a result, participants became co-authors and lay historians in the preservation of Philadelphia's history.