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A first-of-its-kind art exhibit now open on the National Mall

"Beyond Granite: Pulling Together" features installations from six leading contemporary artists exploring untold stories of the National Mall.

WASHINGTON — An outdoor art exhibition is coming to the National Mall for the first time in its long history. The new curated series of installations is designed to create a more inclusive, equitable and representative pathway for the commemorative landscape. 

"Beyond Granite: Pulling Together," will feature installations from six leading contemporary artists that respond to a central curatorial question: “What stories remain untold on the National Mall?” The artists will interpret this question through their work, while focusing on the concepts of storytelling, narrative change, and national identity; monumentality and democracy; and public memory and memory making, officials said. Exhibition sites will include spaces near the Lincoln Memorial, Constitution Gardens, and the Mall, the expansive green lawn between the U.S. Capitol building, and the Washington Monument.

"Beyond Granite" is open to the public from Aug. 18, and run through Sept. 18.

"Our goal for 'Beyond Granite' is to develop more innovative and accessible ways to tell America’s stories in our nation’s capital,” said Marcel Acosta, National Capital Planning Commission’s Executive Director. “The Pulling Together exhibit is an exciting pilot that will test and inform new approaches to the commemorative landscape that would not permanently build on the National Mall’s open spaces.”

Curated by Monument Lab under the direction of Dr. Paul Farber and Dr. Salamishah Tillet, Beyond Granite: Pulling Together is the first curated outdoor exhibition of its kind in the history of the National Mall.

Farber and Tillet invited artists to draw inspiration from Marian Anderson’s performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939, after she was prevented from singing at Washington, D.C.’s Constitution Hall because of her race. A crowd of 75,000 attended this watershed performance; one that civil rights activist Mary McLeod Bethune called “a story of hope for tomorrow, a story of triumph, a story of pulling together, a story of splendor, and real democracy.”

The exhibition will include the work of the following artists:

The exhibits will include public programming and interactive components. The set locations and specific themes of each art piece will be unveiled at a later date.

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