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National Constitution Center to Host Groundbreaking Civic Exhibition "Into the Open"
Studio 804 Sustainable Prototype Arts Center Greensburg, Kansas, 2008.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- From July 15 to September 7, 2009, the National Constitution Center will host Into the Open, an innovative exhibition featuring the work of 16 architectural groups. Through vibrant installations and displays, Into the Open explores the original ways architects are collaborating to foster civic engagement and build better communities. Immersive, bold, and interactive, the exhibition aims to inform, as well as encourage discussion and participation.

Chalkboard walls will line the exhibition, making it possible for visitors to share their comments, reactions, and ideas in response to the projects. In the interactive spirit of the exhibition, the Center will also engage the community by extending the exhibit experience outside the museum walls. The projects featured in the exhibition will be showcased at the National Constitution Center and the Slought Foundation on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania . Additionally, off-site community programming related to the exhibition is planned, in partnership with local organizations.

“Philadelphia is proud to be the home of numerous civic organizations taking the lead in our nation’s move towards sustainability and positive community engagement,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This exhibition will highlight how individuals from all walks of life can play an integral role in creating transformative change.”

“This provocative intersection of architecture and activism allows the Center to highlight the importance of civic engagement in the community,” says National Constitution Center President and CEO Linda E. Johnson. “It is fitting that Into the Open will be displayed in Philadelphia , where the American experiment was born, and where the Center continues to promote the power of individuals to create positive change.”

"This exhibition explores how local grassroots initiatives are generating new forms of social responsibility and activism. By highlighting America 's rich history of architectural experimentation, we hope to define architecture not just as a physical infrastructure, but also as a social relationship," says Aaron Levy, Executive Director of the Slought Foundation.

The National Constitution Center will feature eight of the 16 architectural projects, with the exhibition experience beginning on the Center’s front lawn on Independence Mall, where visitors can pass through Estudio Teddy Cruz’s 89-foot photo narrative of the U.S.-Mexico border. Cruz’s fence installation explores the dynamics of urban conflict on both sides of the U.S. and Mexico border, from San Diego ’s affluence to homelessness in Tijuana .

Visitors will also encounter Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard, part of the Yale Sustainable Food Project. Waters, a renowned chef, created this project in response to the lack of nutritious food served in California public schools. A model garden, located in front of the Center, will feature local seasonal vegetables and flowers. Campers attending the Center’s American Adventure Summer Camp will help plant and tend to the garden throughout the summer. The Center’s model garden is developed in partnership with The Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania and Pedal Co-Op.

National Constitution Center | University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia | Mayor Michael A. Nutter | Linda E. Johnson |

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