Since 2017, one project has been uniting contemporary art with historic spaces in Philadelphia, fostering the development of culturally inclusive site narratives and supporting local artists. CultureTrust member Past Present Projects is a curatorial initiative that bridges the worlds of history and contemporary art to create innovative, resonant programming. Founder and curator Heather Moqtaderi believes that site-specific artistic practice is a vital approach to understanding and reckoning with our shared history.
“I feel that art should be out in the neighborhoods, and by utilizing historic sites in Philadelphia, this is a way we can bring exciting, high-quality opportunities to experience art in our communities.”
Over the past five years, Past Present Projects has successfully organized contemporary art exhibitions in partnership with historic sites, including The Woodlands in West Philadelphia, Hatfield House in Fairmount Park, and Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion in Germantown. For a taste of their site-specific work, be sure to check out their September mural installation at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Deep Rivers, painted by Linda Gail Sanders to honor 19th-century Black historical figures.
As a seasoned curator and design historian in Philadelphia, Heather also strongly believes that the mission of Past Present Projects should not only be to bring art programming to historic spaces, but to support other artists and organizations who are also doing work at the intersection of contemporary artistic practice and history.
“We want to foster public engagement with contemporary installations at historic sites - and there is SO much great work being done! Past Present Magazine is our vehicle to disseminate all of this great work.”
Past Present Magazine features interviews and articles that explore the intersections of contemporary art and history. Past Present Magazine Issue No. 2 is available for purchase through their online shop, and features highlights from the 2022 Venice Biennale by Leila Cartier, interviews with artists Maria Dumlao and Suchitra Mattai, a studio visit with Linda Gail Sanders, music reviews by Emily Carris-Duncan, book reviews and more. (P.S. - this beautifully illustrated issue made it onto this year’s CultureWorks Staff Holiday Gift Guide!)
Located in the Bok Building in South Philadelphia, their space functions as both an office and a gallery. Their newest exhibition in this space, Natural History, featuring artists Maria Dumlao and Talia Greene, is open now through January 28th, 2023. Learn more and plan your visit here!
For more information about Past Present Projects and their free exhibitions and public programs, visit their website PastPresentProjects.org.