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2021 Fitch Colloquium
The Art of Preservation

Fri, Feb 19, 2021    12pm
2021 Fitch Colloquium
The Art of Preservation: Engaging and Amplifying Underrepresented Heritage

Artists are leading a broad rethinking of heritage, and claiming a central role within preservation practice. In recent years, many BIPOC artists have worked with built heritage to take up the legacies of racial inequities and historical injustices as central themes in their work. Artists confront, challenge, or reframe the role of heritage in society. What will the future of preservation look like as art becomes more central in the profession?

The 2021 Fitch Colloquium, co-sponsored by the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia University’s GSAPP and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, explored this intersection of art and preservation. The symposium convened BIPOC artists who integrate heritage – and all its sociopolitical implications today – into their works.

Image (right): Still from Ada Pinkston’s LandMarked, courtesy of the artist.

Ifa Bayeza
Nona Faustine
Joel Garcia
David Hartt
Monèt Noelle Marshall
Karyn Olivier
Ada Pinkston
Paul Rucker
Heidelberg Project: Jenenne Whitfield

Marisa Brown
Justin Garrett Moore
Brent Leggs

Event Schedule

12:00-12:15 pm
Welcome & Introduction
Remarks by Jorge Otero-Pailos and Katherine Malone-France
12:15-1:45 pm
Panel 1: Reclaiming

Introduction: Katherine Malone-France
Moderator: Brent Leggs
Panelists: Karyn Olivier, Monet Noelle Marshall, Ada Pinkston

This panel brings together artists whose projects have worked to reclaim existing spaces, previously preserved and imagined to be “authentic” sites of the past (historic homes, plantations, and public monuments), to highlight or re-insert institutionally marginalized narratives. Through their practices, these artists challenge the current dominant interpretative structures that privilege white histories and perspectives, instead honoring aspects of BIPOC presence, contributions, and perseverance at these sites.
2:00-3:30 pm
Panel 2: Materializing

Introduction: Anna Gasha
Moderator: Justin Garret Moore
Panelists: Paul Rucker, Nona Faustine, David Hartt

This session will focus on how artists have given form to BIPOC histories through the cultural landscape writ large, where connections to the past have been built over and, as a result, are less overt. These artists reimagine and materialize their visions to resurface connections of present-day urban landscapes, everyday buildings, and streetscapes to articulate the connection between the past and ongoing issues facing communities of color today. Together, they illustrate the importance of and opportunities to recount and uplift BIPOC narratives, even when there are minimal physical remnants of those histories.
Panel 3: Connecting

Introduction: Cole Akers
Moderator: Marisa Brown
Panelists: Joel Garcia, Ifa Bayeza, Jenenne Whitfield (Heidelberg Project)

While all art has and depends on an audience, just as all preservation projects design around stakeholders, the artists in this session place interacting with and providing opportunities for local communities of color at the forefront of their work. Art at historically charged sites thus work as a vehicle to encourage dialogue and collective action among and within these communities, in order to envision new futures while learning from the past.