Patty Wilson Aden is Vice President of Operations for the African American Museum in Philadelphia, which collects and preserves art and artifacts and interprets the history and stories of African Americans and those of the African Diaspora. The museum serves as a gathering place, a forum for broader community engagement, and a partner for collaborations with historical and cultural institutions—so every inch of museum space needs to foster those connections.
Wilson enlisted the Collaborative to rethink a neglected courtyard nestled between the rear of the building and the museum parking lot on Arch Street. “We call this the rear yard,” she said during a recent impromptu tour, “but for many of our visitors, this is their first view of the museum."
A conceptual plan by the Collaborative's volunteer team, led by the landscape architecture firm Synterra, drew on the creative ideas of a task force of museum staff and volunteers. Seating, a living wall, and colorful glass-compound paving that emulates African basket-weaving patterns, will enliven the space.
Thanks to their collaboration, the museum received a $10,000 Artworks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop the design further.