Looking Beyond Landmarks: Celebrating That Which is Difficult to Preserve

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Looking Beyond Landmarks: Celebrating That Which is Difficult to Preserve

May 20, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT

$25 – $35

Join the Historic Districts Council at the Annual Preservation Conference, which will examine sites that are difficult to preserve, including sites of cultural significance, non-buildings, places of commemoration and trauma, and monuments and public art. Hear from communities, scholars, and advocates on how they are preserving memory and how that is reflected in our physical space and structures.

AIA Credit available upon request

View the Preservation Conference Tour Schedule


9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

After the Ribbon is Cut: Preserving Art and Memory with Jonathan Kuhn

HDC’s 2023 Preservation Conference will kick off with an exciting opening presentation and discussion featuring Jonathan Kuhn, Director of Art and Antiquities for the New York City Parks Department. Jonathan will help frame the day’s themes through a wide-ranging exploration of his work protecting the Parks Department’s “Outdoor Museum.” He will examine the challenges and successes in preserving public art, how attitudes to monuments change over time, and anticipating the needs of new projects. The presentation will feature film, case studies, and much more!


10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Panel 1: Preserving Culture

How can communities preserve their intangible heritage that contributes to the sense of place? Three panelists will discuss how they are doing this, both through community collaboration and government regulation.

Panelists include Natalie Milbrodt, Director of the Queens Memory Project, who will share the initiative’s Queens Name Explorer, a growing archive of the borough’s places and sites named after individuals; Grace Jiyun Lee, Senior Community Development Specialist and Cultural Districts Manager for the City of San Francisco, will discuss how the Cultural Districts program works to celebrate, preserve, and strengthen cultural assets and traditions; and Ramona Hernandez, Director of CUNY’s Dominican Studies Institute and Professor of Sociology at City College, will present her work towards the creation of a Dominican Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel 2: Preserving public art, sculpture and monuments

Public art is all across New York City, but many times these works are more susceptible to erasure than traditional architectural sites. How is public art, both government sanctioned and community created, being assessed and preserved?

Panelists include Deborah Gardner, Historian & Curator of Roosevelt House, and a founding member of the NYC Chapter of the Living New Deal, an online repository of New Deal public works and resources, and sponsor of public programs, who will discuss the project; Jane Weissman, Co-Director of the community mural collective Artmakers Inc., and co-author of On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City, who will discuss the challenges, successes, and failures of restoring community murals; and Loretta Howard, Co-Creator and Executive Director of On This Spot, a free digital mapping project that celebrates the artistic legacy of a diverse group of New York women artists through short form documentary video, who will speak about the platform.

12:15 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Panel 3: Preserving memorials and sites of trauma

How do we acknowledge sites of trauma or commemoration? This panel will look at sites of memorialization, and how these memorials are being preserved or threatened with erasure.

Panelists include Juan Aguirre of Mano a Mano, an organization dedicated to celebrating Mexican culture in NYC, discussing the organization’s collaboration with Naming the Lost Memorials; Gina Pollara, who is working with the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition to erect a permanent public memorial to the 146 victims on the facade of the building where the fire occurred; and Immanuel Oni, architect and recipient of the 2023 Arnold W. Brunner Grant for his project Beyond Memorial, a collaboration with communities to create memorials to victims of gun violence in NYC.


May 20, 2023
9:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
$25 – $35


Historic Districts Council
(212) 614-9107
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New York Law School
185 West Broadway
New York, NY 10013 United States
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