Hank Willis Thomas: Philly Block Project

Philadelphia Photo Arts Center



Photo by Hank Willis Thomas and Wyatt Gallery, courtesy of Philly Block Project.


Will Steacy and Layla Perea photographed each other in November, 2015, for the Philly Block Project. Steacy is one of the collaborating artists for the Philly Block Project and Perea is a South Kensington resident. Photo by Jordan Baumgarten/Philly Block Project, 2015.


Hakan Ibisi carries a photograph of his grandfather in his wallet. Ibisi was photographed for the Philly Block Project, a collaboration between the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and Hank Willis Thomas. Photo by Wyatt Gallery/Hank Willis Thomas Studio, 2015.

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) will present Hank Willis Thomas: Philly Block Project, a 15-month, multi-phase engagement and exhibition in which conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas will recreate a city block with a series of 1:1 scale photographs of North Philadelphia's people and buildings. The photographs will be installed in the galleries of the PPAC, inviting audiences to consider issues related to gentrification, and setting the stage for public forums and a crowd-sourced neighborhood image archive and exhibition. Community members will be encouraged to add personal photographs and portraits to Thomas' installation, thereby turning PPAC into a community gathering space. To complement the exhibition and extend it beyond the walls of the galleries, Thomas will create an interpretive public art video installation to be projected on an abandoned building in the neighborhood.

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.