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Heat Response

in partnership with Trust for Public Land and with support from Pew Arts & Heritage Center

Over the course of two years, I worked with artists Jenna Robb, José Ortiz-Pagán and Amber Art & Design and the communities of Gray's Ferry, Southeast Philly and Fairhill to elevate the lived experience of urban heat in Philadelphia.

As the lead artist, I worked with Trust for Public Land to design the scaffolding which we then collectively shaped into a project that worked hard to engage communities during the 2020-22 covid lockdowns. More information at

Heat Response was a winner of the Environmental Protection Agency's "Let's Talk About Heat Challenge"and was featured in Cool it with art, a guide for local governments, community-based organizations, and artists interested in working together to promote creative approaches to address climate-driven extreme heat impacts and to promote healthy, climate resilient communities.



My role in the project included looking at the impact of urban heat across the city. I worked in three phases, first connecting the three communities, second connecting to other communities in Philadelphia and third, building capacity for the communities so that work could be continued.

Citywide: Building Capacity

Notes of Creative Engagement

In thinking about how to provide tools to give back to communities working for change in Philadelphia, after many many iterations, I was most interested in provided a few insights from the artists and a lot of space for new ideas, so I landed on the idea of an inspirational sketchbook. Available as print on demand, no profit, just the cost of printing.


Citywide: Engage Wider Philadelphia Community

Future Philly

Throughout the project I and others working on the project interviewed residents on their lived experience with heat and their imagined future Philadelphia. These interviews were then used as inspiration for short videos created by artists Nate Dorr, Gina Furnari and myself. By screening these videos around Philadelphia, we hope to elevate the voices of community members.

Future Philly - Meadow City

Featuring the stories and ideas from: Phyllis Brennan, Lauren Troop, Ivonne Pinto, Jasmine, Cheyenne Flores and David Acosta

Video by Nate Dorr

Audio design and editing by Eve Mosher

Music: Cinematic Piano by @AShamaluevMusic | Motion by Ikson

Sound effects: Air conditioner by Jonathon Tremblay on | rustling leaves by dannydandanshababaloo on | Bees by Marek Wojtaszek on | Children laughing by InspectorJ on | Morning in the meadow by

Visuals created with Disco Diffusion 52 by Somnai and Adam Letts, using the diffusion model by Katherine Crowson

Future Philly - Water City

Featuring: Oro Ayala, David Acosta, Margot, and Phyllis Brennan

Video by Gina Furnari

Audio design and editing by Eve Mosher

Music: Sorrow by AShamaluevMusic | Track: Secret To Happiness — JayJen [Audio Library Release]

SFX: Traffic by Zapsplat | Hospital ambience by nixeno from | Community garden by Akoustikos from | Medium sized crowd chatting by arpeggio1980 from | Water fountain in a city by seanreads from | Children playing from soundbible

Future Philly - Meadow City

Featuring: Cheyenne Flores, Alicia and David Acosta

Film and audio by Eve Mosher

Music: Farewell by @martynaslau | Beautiful Day by @justhea 

SFX: City Ambulance from SoundBible | Birds by 5ound5murf23 from | More birds by yakubova-studio from | Construction from Zapsplat |  Walking by JohnsonBrandEditing from | Stock footage by: Videvo, Elsa Luebling and stockfootage from videvo | Kelly L from 

Citywide: Connecting Communities


In order to connect the three communities in Philadelphia with whom we worked, we designed a mobile tool of engagement, at times carrying a tree or an umbrella for shade, and always handing out Heat Response custom popsicles (designed and produced by Philabundance) and packets including:

  • mullein seeds

  • instructions to turn the envelope into a paper pot

  • soil

  • recipe for mullein tea (from José's work)

  • the Seedlings coloring book (from Amber Arts work) 

  • postcards about urban heat (from Jenna's work)

pop-cycle at community event
pop-cycle atthe Flower Show
pop-cycle at the Flower Show
pop-cycle at the Flower Show
La Sombrilla
Tea and activities for town hall
Projection with pop-cycle
Projection of words from community members
La Sombrilla

Southeast Philly

José Ortiz-Pagán

with community leads Gibrán Medina and Sulay Sosa and project partners Tyler School of Art and Bahay215

José's work included zoom town halls complete with hand delivered gifts for participants including cooling tea and ingredients and group activities the town halls hosted neighbors, youth and business owners. He also worked with University of Temple/Tyler Art students on curriculum development and interviews with neighbors involved in community gardens.These interviews were shared in the nrighborhood as pop-up projections. With this underpinning of knowledge, interaction and experience, he created a collaborative team to build "La Sombrilla" a modular community space for rainwater capture, growing space, solar power and community gathering. The "La Sombrilla" team included Bahay215, Gibrán Medina, and. 

Grays Ferry

Jenna Robb

with community lead Phyllis Brennan and project partners 215 People's Alliance

Jenna Robb, working closely with her community lead Phyllis Brennan, rapidly responded to the covid lockdown situation by seeing a need in the community and providing outdoor art programs for youth in the local area in Lanier Park. She created an inter-generational conversation by inviting residents of a local elder living facility to provide inspiration and feedback for the youth art projects. These workshops were also a space to have deeper conversations on urban heat in the area which led to an installation of a park bench to represent connection and respite in the shade, and greater collaboration with the gardeners and community group 215 People's Alliance resulting in gardening classes and a collaborative and celebratory mural. 

Jenna also created the Heat Response interactive mural for the Philadelphia Flower Show.

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Mural Drawings05
Photo Oct 10, 11 45 43 AM
Drawing with Jenna Robb_Grays Ferry
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Screenshot 2021-03-17 21.38.49


Amber Art & Design

with community lead Charito Morales project partners Tyler School of Art Community Arts Practice

Amber Art & Design created practices with local artists to engage with the community early in the project process. This inspired their co-creation (with students Holly Hazel and Kenza) of a super hero based coloring book called Seedlings. Seedlings was distributed at playstreets and community events around Philadelphia as a tool for education and engagement.

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