Weitzman’s first dual degree student in Fine Arts and Historic Preservation

In a Q&A, Aislinn Pentecost-Farren discusses her road to the dual degree program and how the legacy of historic sites is foundational to the climate crisis.

Aislinn Pentecost-Farren is an interdisciplinary artist and curator, and a dual degree student in Fine Arts and Historic Preservation at the Weitzman School. In this interview she speaks about her background, her time at Weitzman, and the work spurred by her historic preservation thesis, which tackles the legacy of historic sites foundational to the climate crisis.

Aislinn Pentecost-Farren.
Aislinn Pentecost-Farren. (Image: Courtesy of Weitzman News)

The program is designed for students who are interested in art as a function of civic political discourse and/or historic preservation students interested in new creative methods of unpacking meaning from the built environment.

Pentecost-Farren’s background is in public art, with public art nonprofits like Philadelphia Mural Arts, and she has also worked as an artist on commissions with parks and historic sites. She will graduate in May.

I started my first year in the Fine Arts program,” she says. “Because art is conceptually flexible and expansive, I wanted that to frame my study in historic preservation, and not the other way around. Then I did all my historic preservation credits.”

The interdisciplinary aspect to the degree informs Pentecost-Farren’s approach to art and preservation. “I just finished a two-year residency with a greenway and park organization in Northeast Philly called Riverfront North. They’re building a recreational trail along the Delaware River. The riverbank in North Philly is almost totally taken over by industry, so this trail is the first river access that many neighborhoods have had in a couple generations. Riverfront North hired me to create art projects that introduced residents to the idea of being a riverfront neighborhood again and build a sense of connection to the river. My work was a way to introduce the park before it was built, so that people would use it as soon as it opened.”

“As a public artist, I get invited into projects at the intersection of culture, history, city planning, and community engagement. I have done a series of projects, from a community history project delivered on pizza boxes, to working with a walking artist who led a lantern parade that retraced maritime underground railroad routes. The built environment hides a lot of histories that don’t always speak for themselves, or speak to everyone. You have to reveal them with activity and interpretation and story.”

Read more at Weitzman News.