PXSTL Community Design Projects

Translating phase, A Way, Away (Listen While I Say). Photo by Michael Thomas.

Posted by Pulitzer Arts Foundation July 11, 2017


The Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Sam Fox School, and Chicago-based artists Amanda Williams and Andres L. Hernandez have awarded four grants to support the development of community design projects as part of the final phase of the PXSTL project A Way, Away (Listen While I Say).

Grant recipients include creative reuse organization Perennial; a collaboration between the Granite City Art and Design District and the New American Gardening initiative; housing cooperative Art House; and a collaboration between the Solidarity Economy St. Louis network, carpentry company Citizen Carpentry, and the historic small black business hub Tillie's Corner.

The announcement follows a public request for small-scale design projects that utilize salvaged bricks as a material component. Each of the community partners will receive a grant of up to $2,500, pallets of salvaged bricks, and professional design and project management support from organizers to complete projects by November 2017.

Developed by Williams and Hernandez, A Way, Away is a series of creative interventions that have activated an empty land parcel located across the street from the Pulitzer, as well as an adjacent building that was demolished earlier this spring. Materials salvaged from the building demolition will be given new life through these community design projects.

Each of the community design proposals considered the concepts of healing, legacy, and public health, and how the partnership would enhance the existing creative work serving the various communities in the region. Initial design ideas range from hosting community workshops to creating gathering and performance spaces with the bricks. The final details of the projects will be developed over the coming months in collaboration with organizers, including through design charrettes led by Williams and Hernandez.

"The design projects will give new life to these bricks, connecting our work to communities both near our site and across the St. Louis region," Williams says.

Hernandez adds, "Collaborating with these creative and talented partners will produce opportunities to elevate the materials and create spaces and relationships that will continue into the future."

About the Community Partners

Founded by Jenny Murphy (BFA09), Perennial is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a culture of sustainability through creative reuse, a process of artistically transforming discarded goods into objects of worth. At Perennial’s community workshop, a staff of teaching artists, educators, and community partners offers educational programming to diverse populations, teaching more than 2,000 people last year. In addition to the workshop, Perennial’s store sells handmade DIY kits and eco-friendly supplies for reuse projects. To learn more about Perennial, visit perennialstl.org.

Located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, the nonprofit Granite City Art and Design District (G-CADD) is a consortium of creative spaces on the 1800 block of State Street in Granite City, Illinois. The collection of buildings and properties that make up G-CADD provides both indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces to local and regional artists. For this partnership, G-CADD is working in collaboration with New American Gardening, an experimental landscape project focused on maximizing ecological impact by cultivating native plants, rain gardens, and productive landscapes. To learn more about these organizations, visit gcadd.org and newamericangardening.com.

Art House is a housing cooperative for artists and activists on the north side of St. Louis that emerged directly out of the events in Ferguson following the shooting of Michael Brown. Located at 3911 Greer Avenue, Art House provides necessary resources for residents including mental health support, political education, and a food share program serving over 100 families eight times per month. In addition to these services, the collective engages in a variety of art activities to inspire imagination and develop communication skills with neighborhood children.

Solidarity Economy St. Louis is a network of groups and individuals striving to build an economy based on the values of justice, sustainability, self-determination, and cooperation. Working to create just and sustainable systems for people to meet their basic material needs, the network resists exploitation by divesting from and directly challenging systems of capitalism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. For this partnership, the Solidarity Economy is working with Citizen Carpentry, a St. Louis-based carpentry collective that offers services and training in practical trades through a paid apprenticeship program, and Tillie's Corner, a historic small black business hub that is home to a community garden providing education in healthy eating and black history to youth and families in the surrounding neighborhood. To learn more about these organizations, visit solidaritystl.org, citizencarpentry.com, and tilliescorner.org.

About A Way, Away (Listen While I Say) and PXSTL

A Way, Away (Listen While I Say) is the first joint commission for Chicago-based artists Amanda Williams and Andres L. Hernandez. The project activates an empty land parcel as well as an adjacent building at 3721 Washington Boulevard that was demolished in April 2017. The multiphase project has unfolded over the course of several months, beginning by painting the building gold prior to demolition, followed by reshaping the topographical contours of the landscape and regenerating the green space. Materials salvaged from the building demolition will be given new life in community design projects. By choreographing the process in this way, the artists invite us to pause and evaluate the life cycle of the urban landscape. Drawing inspiration from classic tropes in blues music about hope and unrequited love, the work’s title is meant to evoke the cycle of loss and transformation that characterizes the built environment.

This project is a continuation of PXSTL, a series of design-build commissions organized by the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. PXSTL was founded on the belief that creative interventions have the power to serve as meaningful catalysts for urban transformation.

A Way, Away (Listen While I Say) is ongoing through fall 2017. It is located at 3713–3721 Washington Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, across the street from the Pulitzer Arts Foundation. To learn more about the artists and the collaboration, visit awayaway.site or @awayawaystl on Instagram.

Media Contacts

For additional information on PXSTL and the Sam Fox School, please contact Liam Otten, Senior News Director, Arts & Humanities, Washington University in St. Louis, liam_otten@wustl.edu | 314.935.8494.

For additional information on PXSTL and the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, please contact
Katie Hasler Peissig, Director of Marketing and Communications, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, khasler@pulitzerarts.org | 314.754.1850 ext. 235