On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia)


Title: On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia)
Photo Credit: Steve Weinik
Lead Artist(s):


Kaitlin Pomerantz’s On the Threshold (Salvaged Stoops, Philadelphia) is a monument to a beloved symbol of Philadelphia neighborhood culture: the stoop, or step(s), as it is known in South Philadelphia. As Pomerantz writes, the stoop or step is “a threshold between private and public space...[it] functions as a site of social interaction, of relaxation, and of participation.” Responding to recent immense change and transformation across city neighborhoods, Pomerantz sought to intercept historic building materials that would otherwise end up in the waste stream. Over six months, she collected marble, concrete, and brick from recently demolished buildings. The stoop materials were reconstructed on-site using historical and traditional masonry techniques, and lined the east side of Washington Square Park, creating an opportunity for sitting, gathering, and reflecting on Philadelphia’s past and its future. Washington Square Park’s history as both a public gathering place and unmarked cemetery sparked the idea for the project, which stimulates conversation about architectural and individual memory.

This project was created for Monument Lab: A Public Art and History Project curated by Paul M. Farber and Ken Lum and produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia. Monument Lab was premised on central guiding question: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? From September 16 to November 19, 2017, temporary prototype monuments by 20 artists were installed across 10 sites in Philadelphia’s iconic public squares and neighborhood parks. These site-specific artworks were presented together with research labs housed in shipping containers, where proposals for new monuments were collected from community members. The proposals—more than 5,000 in total—became a dataset of public speculation presented in a final report the city. During the exhibition, the collection was on view at the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


Public Space
Washington Square is a 6.4 acres open-space park in Center City Philadelphia and one of the five original planned squares laid out by William Penn.
Washington Square Park
210 W Washington Square
Philadelphia, PA 19106
United States

click the map to enlarge

Mural Arts Philadelphia
Walter Mangual/Mangual Excavations, Bob Beaty, Kevin Brooks/Kevin Brooks Salvage, Pedro Palmer, Billy Dufala, Starr Herr-Cardillo, Debbie Anday, The National Park Service, Dennis Pagliotti, Roy Ingraffia, Robert Powers, Scott Ferris, Rocco Matteo

Concrete/Masonry, Metal
Brick (from the first Women’s Medical College, East Falls); concrete (from the former Rocket Cat Cafe building, Frankford Ave, Kensington); and marble, blue stone, and brown stone from various demolished buildings throughout the city of Philadelphia (from the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia, Powelton, Tioga/Nicetown, Brewerytown/Sharswood, Kensington, South Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia). Supplemented with mortar, cinder block, and rebar.