In the wake of 24 Philadelphia school closures in 2013, Temple Contemporary is giving a voice to the now silent school halls. Artist Pepón Osorio has been commissioned to create a new installation, specifically addressing the loss of the Fairhill Elementary School in North Philadelphia.
Osorio and a group of teachers, students, parents and neighbors have gathered objects from the closed Fairhill classrooms, which will become a part of an installation called The reForm Project inside the Tyler School of Art.
For Osorio, the sense of agency that residents may gain from the group process is as important as the installation environment: “I am hoping that this project, with all its components, counters the feelings that I’ve heard so many North Philadelphians describe—feeling invisible in the bureaucratic decision-making of the school closings.”
Temple Contemporary, which uses art to ask locally relevant questions with international significance, has six projects so far that provoke thought and address Philly’s social issues.
One of Surdna Foundation’s grantees of its Artists Engaging in Social Change award, the reForm project received $57,000 toward building community-based educational programming focused on the Fairhill Elementary/Middle School and its neighborhood in North Philadelphia.
The reForm exhibition will open on August 28 at Tyler School of Art from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.– see below for a sneak peak of the installation and the Fairhill Elementary/Middle School community rallying for the project.
Images via Temple Contemporary
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