“Beyond Granite: Pulling Together” features six sculptures from six different creators, hoping to spark conversations and answer the question: What stories remain untold on the National Mall?
The exhibit is based on the theme of “pulling together,” in reference to the historic 1939 performance of “My Country, ’Tis of Thee” by Marian Anderson on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. At that time, press wrote that it was a moment to “pull together” as a country.
“’Beyond Granite’ is an initiative … created to explore temporary art installations as a way of telling a fuller American story,” said Teresa Durkin, executive vice president of the Trust for the National Mall.
Each artist had their own take on the concept. One of the more interactive exhibits features a playground, half black and white and half in color.
“Derrick Adams literally built a playground on the plaza at Constitution Gardens, and it’s to help people remember the story of desegregation of playgrounds in the 1950s,” said Durkin.
Another piece created by artist Paul Ramirez Jonas features a large bell as the Washington Monument stands in the distance.
“The bell actually plays the whole song, and the idea is that the visitor can pull the lever on the very large bell at the bottom and ring the last note,” said Durkin. “It’s just a way of having people think about freedom, and what does that mean to people.”
“Beyond Granite: Pulling Together” will run until Sept. 18. It is presented by the Trust for the National Mall in partnership with the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Park Service, funded by the Mellon Foundation.