The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) and Mural Arts Philadelphia (MAP) are proud to announce plans for commissioning a large mural for the Horwitz-Wasserman Memorial Plaza on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Letters of Interest Due: June 30, 2023
The project will continue the decades-long effort to remember and reflect on the Holocaust in Philadelphia, first through a memorial sculpture, then through the creation of a plaza with interpretive features, and now through the creation of a new artwork on the wall that provides a backdrop for the Memorial Plaza.
This is an extraordinary opportunity for an artist to work on a project of profound significance in one of Philadelphia’s most visible civic locations. The artwork has the opportunity to link the storytelling, interpretation and commemoration that occur at the Plaza now with ongoing global narratives of freedom and resistance, and to engage with future generations who did not experience the Holocaust directly but will carry the stories forward in their own ways.
Mural Arts is seeking an artist who is highly accomplished in creating two-dimensional public art, has experience working with topics of deep significance and complexity in public dialogue and public space, and has an emotional connection to the Holocaust through a family, community or cultural connection. The artist’s experience, their artistic practice and their approach to this project should be clearly aligned with the vision of this project.
Artist letters of interest are due June 30, 2023. Qualifying artists will be identified based on the letters of interest; qualifying artists will be asked to submit a portfolio and a short list will be interviewed. The selection is expected be announced by September, 2023. Anticipated completion of the project is a year after that.
This project continues the evolution of Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza in Center City Philadelphia. This public space occupies a prominent location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 16th and Arch Streets, steps away from the city’s civic heart and a major commuter terminal.
For more than fifty years this has been the place where Philadelphians have remembered, reflected on and learned about the Holocaust. In 1964, a group of Holocaust survivors, family members and community leaders gave to Philadelphia a towering bronze sculpture, Monument to Six Million Jewish Martyrs (by Nathan Rapoport), which was the first public monument in North America to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust.
Beginning in 2006, the Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation (PHRF) spearheaded efforts to preserve the existing monument and activate the site for enhanced public access and education. The Horwitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza was opened in 2018. In addition to the sculpture, new interpretive elements and landscape features reflect themes of resilience, reflection and resistance.
Most recently, PHRF collaborated with the USC Shoah Foundation to develop an educational app that connects the Plaza’s various features with historical context and Holocaust survivor testimony. As visitors explore the various educational features of the site, the IWalk app presents customizable content and survivor video testimony. In addition to helping visitors reflect on the past, these features explore the universal lessons of the Holocaust, so that all feel compelled to counter prejudice, hatred and indifference.
This project will occupy a wall on a building that is adjacent to the Plaza and creates a backdrop to the space. The wall faces a grove of trees that represents the woodlands that sheltered those who resisted or hid in forests throughout Nazi-occupied Europe. The wall provides an opportunity to enclose the urban space, bring a new artistic medium into the experience, weave together the different storylines and themes that are explored in the Plaza’s design and interpretive elements, and open the conversation to new generations.
The stakeholders have established six goals for this project. These are articulated more fully in the goals statement that follows this RFQ.
- The Holocaust: Remember, Reflect, Learn
- Embrace this Pivotal Moment in Time
- Connect the Holocaust to Broader Contexts and Experiences
- Build on / Expand the Experience of the Existing Monument and Plaza
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