About Paper Monuments


What is paper monuments?

Paper Monuments is a public art and public history project designed to elevate the voices of the people of New Orleans, as a critical process towards creating new narratives and symbols of our city that represent our collective visions, and to honor the erased histories of the people, events, movements, and places that have made up the past 300 years as we look to the future. 

Modeled on the work of Philadelphia’s Monument Lab, Paper Monuments combines public pedagogy and participatory design to expand our collective understanding of New Orleans, and invites our citizens to:

Imagine new monuments for New Orleans.  

The removal of four Jim Crow monuments in the spring of 2017, the result of generations of organizing by Black New Orleanians including Dorothy Mae Taylor, the Rev. Avery Alexander, and the Take Em' Down NOLA Coalition, revealed deep-seated divisions in our communities. It also sparked important conversations: about the ties between symbols and systems, the links between the present and the past, the differences in how we experience our built environment, and what stories we tell and remember.  

We view a community-driven, participatory process for the redevelopment of these sites and for the expansion of public art in public spaces throughout New Orleans as a critical means to continue and expand those conversations, and to ensure that when future generations question the intentions behind and the purpose of future monuments, the answers are ones of which they can be proud.

Who: the people of New Orleans (elders, students, artist, writers, teachers, workers, historians, activists, parents, storytellers, poets, youth, actors, natives, transplants)

What: City-wide campaign that involves:

a) Poster Campaign: commissioned artwork that celebrates people, places, events and movements in New Orleans history. Artists and writers are paired up to create a poster that will be put up around the city. Posters will be distributed at bookstores and libraries throughout the city.

b) Public Proposals: public proposals for prospective monuments submitted by people living in New Orleans. Proposals answer the question “What is an appropriate monument for the city of New Orleans today?” through drawings and written description.

c) Events + Pop-ups: tabling and storytelling events around the city, regular community canvassing, open artist calls, and more...


Where: across the city of New Orleans

  1. Events: Hosted by arts and cultural venues, public library branches, schools and more

  2. Poster distribution sites: bookstores, art galleries, libraries. Check Paper Monuments map for details. 

  3. Public art: wheatpasted and installed in public spaces all over New Orleans

When: Now  

project of colloqate design

Colloqate is a multidisciplinary nonprofit Design Justice practice focused on expanding community access to, and building power through, the design of social, civic, and cultural spaces. Our mission is to intentionally organize, advocate, and design spaces of racial, social and cultural equity. 

We believe that to design for equity is to have an unyielding faith in the potential for a just society. It is an act of individual and collective hope requiring, not only, an awareness of true inequity, but a compulsion to speak out against it in its many forms. Design speaks to the potential for equitable spaces and attempts to visually and physically represent our collective aspirations for the future.