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The Practice of Democracy Exhibition

From July 15 through October 2, the High Line’s 14th Street Passage features the new exhibition The Practice of Democracy: We Hold These Truths. Visitors are invited to explore the ways democracy shows up in our everyday lives, neighborhoods, and worlds. Organized as a past-to-present journey, the immersive exhibition traces the policies, practices, and investments that shape how democracy is defined and experienced in our cities. The exhibition asks, how can you become a “doer” of democracy?

From July 15 through October 2, the High Line’s 14th Street Passage features the new exhibition The Practice of Democracy: We Hold These Truths. Visitors are invited to explore the ways democracy shows up in our everyday lives, neighborhoods, and worlds. Organized as a past-to-present journey, the immersive exhibition traces the policies, practices, and investments that shape how democracy is defined and experienced in our cities. The exhibition asks, how can you become a “doer” of democracy?

Everyday experiences can be viewed through the interconnected layers of culture, environment, economy, politics, and society. The Practice of Democracy offers perspectives on how these layers influence our buildings, streets, and open spaces—and how they support or hinder a collective pursuit of democracy. Using New York City as a starting point, the exhibition illuminates a collection of local stories often muted or left out of history books. Through these stories and other tools, the exhibition encourages visitors to see themselves as agents of change in shaping healing, equity, and justice through the design and stewardship of our city’s spaces and systems.

The pursuit of democratic values offers hope for equal opportunities and brighter futures for all. Join us in reimagining how cities are designed and therefore operate, feel, look, and serve. By harnessing empathy and a sense of place, we can collectively rebuild the bonds of society and deliver on the idea of democracy.

Everyday experiences can be viewed through the interconnected layers of culture, environment, economy, politics, and society. The Practice of Democracy offers perspectives on how these layers influence our buildings, streets, and open spaces—and how they support or hinder a collective pursuit of democracy. Using New York City as a starting point, the exhibition illuminates a collection of local stories often muted or left out of history books. Through these stories and other tools, the exhibition encourages visitors to see themselves as agents of change in shaping healing, equity, and justice through the design and stewardship of our city’s spaces and systems.

The pursuit of democratic values offers hope for equal opportunities and brighter futures for all. Join us in reimagining how cities are designed and therefore operate, feel, look, and serve. By harnessing empathy and a sense of place, we can collectively rebuild the bonds of society and deliver on the idea of democracy.

A VIEW FROM THE HIGH LINE

Interactive signs at key historical locations along the High Line offer an expanded virtual experience to prompt curious visitors to explore the exhibition’s stories and concepts in greater depth.

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Events

Summer Saturdays

Family programs

Summer Saturdays

Family programs

July 16 & 23, August 13 & 27, 1 – 4pm

Families are invited to drop in to envision the future of public space through creative hands-on activities inspired by The Practice of Democracy exhibition. Craft your own 3D paper building to add to our sculptural “city.

Families are invited to drop in to envision the future of public space through creative hands-on activities inspired by The Practice of Democracy exhibition. Craft your own 3D paper building to add to our sculptural “city.

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The Exhibition Experience

The Practice of Democracy: We Hold These Truths offers points of entry for all learners. Whether visitors have time to explore the whole exhibition or just a few panels, participants will leave with a greater understanding of and appreciation for the spatial implications of democratic actions.

Throughout the High Line, there are several opportunities to delve into the concepts and stories explored in the 14th Street Passage. These interactive signs with short texts and QR codes to oral histories ask participants to situate the exhibition themes within the context of the High Line and broader notions of how our built environment is crafted, informed, and influenced. View a map of all the interactive signs on the High Line.

Engagement

Between July and August 2022, High Line Teen Staff will lead weekly tours of The Practice of Democracy exhibition for partner organizations, community members, and youth-serving programs. These invite-only tours are planned by Teen Staff and aim to bring a range of local constituents into dialogue over the spatial conditions of democracy.

High Line Teen Staff also collaborated with the exhibition organizers to narrate the oral histories on the virtual The Practice of Democracy platform. This initiative offered High Line Teen Staff a tangible experience working with audio production tools and valuable leadership opportunities leading community-facing tours.

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'' In our collective stewardship of this great democratic experiment, we hold onto our personal dreams and aspirations for a future where the pursuits of life, liberty, and happiness are accessible and experienced by all.'

— April De Simone, co-founder, Designing for Democracy
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Teens

In 2022, the High Line’s paid skills-building and leadership development through program has grown to nearly 40 teen staff.

Neighbors Council

This group of 15 engaged neighbors helps inform High Line priorities and collaborate on community based initiatives.

High Line Network

With representation from across North America, this group brings together infrastructure reuse projects—and the people who are helping them come to life.

Partners

Designing for Democracy
Designing For Democracy is an independent non-profit research and design agency located in New Orleans and New York City, founded by Victor F. “Trey” Trahan, III, FAIA and April De Simone in 2021. Designing For Democracy investigates spatial infractions of democracy within the built environment, exploring the implicit relationship between architecture and society’s most pressing challenges. They work with an interdisciplinary consortium of diverse stakeholders, connecting a deeper understanding of how inequity, cultural hierarchy, and dehumanization become spatialized and proliferated.

CARNEVALE.co/op
CARNEVALE.co/op is an independent global experience agency of creatives, strategists, designers, technologists, and data specialists creating next-generation, user-centered experiences that better the world. In collaboration with Design for Democracy and the High Line, CARNEVALE.co/op designed and manages the exhibition’s virtual platform which offers curious visitors a platform to explore the exhibition’s stories and subjects in greater depth.

Support

The Practice of Democracy: We Hold These Truths digital visitor experience is sponsored by and developed by CARNEVALE.co/op.

Carnevale Co Op logo

The physical exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts.

Graham Foundation

Major support for High Line Teens is provided by Jamie and Jeffrey Harris, Sarah Min and Matt Pincus, and Denise Littlefield Sobel. Additional support is provided by IAC Foundation. High Line Teens is made possible, in part, with endowment funds from the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Foundation.

Major support for High Line Community Engagement is also provided by Sarah Min and Matt Pincus, Susan and Stephen Scherr, and Denise Littlefield Sobel.

Major support for High Line Education and High Line Teens is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc.

High Line Programs and accessibility are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, and with special thanks to New York City Council Member Erik Bottcher.

Logos

The Practice of Democracy: We Hold These Truths exhibition is made possible, in part, by in-kind donations from Buro Happold, Think Box Media, Inc., Evan Akselrad, Architect and Engineer, and Trahan Architects.