Beyond Granite

This work is part of Public Realm R&D, an umbrella initiative; learn more about it here.


    A two-year project to bring new temporary commemorative works to the National Mall and Washington, DC.

    National Mall, Washington, DC


    Van Alen Institute is honored to join Beyond Granite, a program led by the Trust for the National Mall, National Capital Planning Commission, and National Park Service, to create 8-10 new temporary commemorative works on the National Mall and around Washington, DC in 2022 and 2023. Beyond Granite will use in-depth community engagement and dialogue to help inspire this series of installations, with a goal of reflecting the diversity of the American people and elevating underrepresented national and local stories in the commemorative landscape.

    Acting as the program designer, Van Alen Institute will work with stakeholders who speak authentically to narratives that have been underrepresented in the American commemorative landscape. Through a series of workshops, these stakeholders will develop themes grounded in their expertise, lived experience, and cultural histories. Selected installations, to be chosen by a jury composed of experts in art, culture, history, and community, will respond to one or more of these themes.

    Van Alen will also help steward the design solicitation process, conduct public community engagement, and advise on design and installation of selected works.

    Details on the design solicitation process and selection criteria will be announced later in 2022.

    Beyond Granite is part of Van Alen Institute’s Public Realm R&D program, intended to surface the work of emerging designers and test new strategies to bring people together in public space.

    To learn more and sign up for email updates about Beyond Granite, visit

    Who We’re Working With

    Beyond Granite is organized by the Trust for the National Mall in partnership with the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Park Service. Contributing organizations include the District of Columbia, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution. The project is made possible by a multimillion dollar grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Trust for the National Mall, as part of the Mellon Foundation’s Monuments Project.


    The National Monument Audit, produced by Monument Lab in partnership with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, assesses the current monument landscape across the United States.


    Andrew Brown

    Director of Programs

    Fareen Islam

    Project Manager, Programs