Pool: A Social History of Segregation

Fund for the Water Works

2019
$260,000

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Archival image at the Kelly Pool, the Fairmount Water Works, 1962. Photo courtesy of the Fairmount Water Works and Philadelphia Water Department Collection.

Set inside a now-vacant public pool at the Fairmount Water Works, site-specific installations will examine the history and present-day implications of segregated swimming pools in America. This multidisciplinary exhibition will survey the role of public pools within communities through newly commissioned, interactive artworks, stories collected from the public at pools throughout Philadelphia, and rarely seen archival film footage and photographs. A new play written and directed by Pew Fellow James Ijames, staged throughout the former lanes of the Water Works pool, will delve further into the social history of pools through character-driven narratives. Ijames will serve as co-artistic director of the project along with designer and educator Victoria Prizzia, who previously collaborated with Fund for the Water Works on the Center-supported, multimedia installation for its freshwater mussel hatchery. The project’s catalogue will document both the artistic work and the stories gathered from residents.

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