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Aug 19 Small Hex A small hex for dates on Apiary Magazine's website.

Plaque to the Future

by APIARY Staff
  • safe haven

Plaque to the Future creator, Lily Goodspeed, is dedicated to democratizing time and memory, but she does so in a way that’s smaller than you might imagine. For this issue of APIARY we teamed up with Lily to collect and scatter sticker-sized plaques around the city to showcase the stories of everyday Philadelphians. Location-based happenstance and tall-tales combine with guerilla artwork to reveal how memories born in particular spaces can overlap, contradict, and surprise us. Thank you Lily for making this collaboration happen! See the complete collection of plaques in APIARY X this September. Support the production of the issue here.

APIARY: What inspired you to start P2TF? 

P2TF: I was originally inspired by all my bad dates in 2016 through 2018! I was walking along Passyunk Avenue, and I realized that multiple bars and cafes had indelibly connected to mortifying Tinder anecdotes. It was embarrassing but immediately made me wonder what other memories Philadelphians linked to the same places. Once I connected that concept with visual vocabulary of the plaques, it just took off.

  • smiley
  • spittingbars

APIARY: Describe your editorial process and what you love about the chosen plaques. 

P2TF: Strangely, the majority of submissions are two types: (1) I got so drunk and <got in this awkward situation> or (2) Here's this memory and now we're married and have a bouncing baby boy. So I love when I get plaques with unique situations (For example, check out the "Pigeon Snatcher" plaque from September 1999.) I also think it's really important to seek out a diversity of stories -- diversity of time periods, diversity of geographical locations, diversity of story writers. When the project started, I unsurprisingly had an over-abundance of memories from millennial-aged South Philadelphians. So I've tried to consciously seek out different experiences. Often times strangers are super forthcoming when you chat them up a bit. I also gather stories by collaborating with community organizers and leaders, since there is an established trust that helps people open up and feel safe. Some of these leaders also provide translation which is amazing! I hope to have plaques in different languages and dialects in the future.  
  • welcometophilly
  • wingnight2

APIARY: How do you hope Philadelphians engage with the plaques? What do you want viewers to walk away with having discovered one?

P2TF: A city is an "imagined community" of sorts... It's more than the physical spaces or the city government or even the people themselves. That unspoken pulse is always there, but sometimes it's hard to connect to that invisible net of connections and history. So I hope that the plaques help people feel both small and large -- small little pieces of the puzzle and large contributors to the (ideally) democratic space of memory.

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///// Our Plaques in the Wild ////

Safe Haven by Cynthia A.: 3rd/Bainbridge

Bag O Beans by Davon C.: Spring Garden MFL Station

Spitting Bars by Davon C.: Rittenhouse Square

Wing Night by Shelby F.: 11th/Walnut

Welcome to Philly by Zoe D.: 4th/Pine

Who’s That?! by Carolyn C.: 49th/Greenway

Smiley by Nicole C: 18th/Diamond

  • Plaque Map
    Conor Nolan


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