Beyond Granite: Pulling Together

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The Beyond Granite initiative is proud to present its pilot exhibition, “Beyond Granite: Pulling Together,” set to grace the National Mall during the summer of 2023, from August 18-September 18, 2023. This groundbreaking event marks the first curated outdoor exhibition in the history of the National Mall, showcasing a series of six thought-provoking commemorative art installations.

The “Pulling Together” exhibition aims to unveil approaches that are not only economical, but also enrich the Mall’s open spaces while illuminating unexplored narratives.

Additionally, drawing inspiration from the poignant 1939 Easter Sunday performance by the iconic opera singer Marian Anderson, “Pulling Together” captures a pivotal moment in the capital’s history. Barred from performing at the Constitution Hall due to the prevailing segregation laws, Anderson delivered a moving concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. This significant event echoed sentiments of unity and hope, as the esteemed educator and civil rights activist, Mary McLeod Bethune, noted that Anderson’s performance symbolized a “story of triumph, pulling together, and real democracy.”

Centered around the overarching question, “What stories remain untold on the National Mall?” the exhibition features works from six renowned contemporary artists:

Of Thee, We Sing
By Vanessa German
Located at Lincoln Memorial Plaza, this piece is a tribute to Marian Anderson’s 1939 performance, represented by an innovative statue upheld by a myriad of hands.

As a Black queer artist, Vanessa German champions themes of healing and intimacy across varied mediums like sculptures and installations. Honored with accolades like the Heinz Award for the Arts, her masterpieces reside in the Crystal Bridges Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Art.


For the Living
By Tiffany Chung
Situated in Constitution Gardens, West (near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial), this expansive installation maps the global journey of Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees.

Renowned for her map artworks, Tiffany Chung critically examines historical and environmental changes. With exhibitions from the Museum of Modern Art to the Nobel Peace Center, her solo display “Rise into the Atmosphere” is currently at the Dallas Museum of Art.


The Soil You See…
By Wendy Red Star
Placed in Constitution Gardens, this installation offers a monumental fingerprint featuring the names of the Apsáalooke (Crow) nation chiefs who entered treaties with the US, providing a counter-narrative to the nearby 56 Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial.

Drawing from her upbringing on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation, Wendy Red Star reinterprets historical archives to offer fresh insights through various mediums like photography and performance. Her artistic contributions can be found in prestigious institutions like the British Museum.


By Ashon T. Crawly
Nestled in the South Grounds of the Washington Monument, this sonic memorial pays homage to the AIDS crisis, specifically honoring the memory of fallen Black queer musicians and their spiritual contributions.

Ashon T. Crawley, a multifaceted artist, and educator, delves into the blend of Blackness, queerness, and spirituality through diverse genres. An academic at the University of Virginia, his art has been showcased at venues like the California African American Museum.


America’s Playground: DC
By Derrick Adams
Found in Constitution Gardens, East (available until Sept 13), this expansive interactive playground narrates the tale of desegregated public spaces in the capital.

Derrick Adams, an artist known for his multifaceted approach — including painting, collage, and performance — delves into the intersections of American iconography, art history, and Black experiences. His art graces institutions like the Brooklyn Museum and public spaces such as Chicago’s Navy Pier.


Let Freedom Ring
By Paul Ramírez Jonas
Positioned at the Smithsonian Metro, 12th Street North, this interactive bell tower invites visitors to chime a monumental bell and share their unique freedom narratives.

Serving as the Art Department Chair at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, & Planning, Paul Ramírez Jonas is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. His works span print media, public art, and sculpture.


The Beyond Granite initiative enriches the National Mall’s narrative tapestry by merging temporary artwork programs with permanent commemoration, museums, and First Amendment activities.


Aug 18-Sept 18, 2023


Disclaimer: Events/opportunities are curated from public sources and are subject to changes/cancelations that might not be reflected on