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BKBB Student Designer Spotlight: Briana Anthony

October 24, 2022

Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers is an archives-based learning project between the Presbyterian Historical Society and Community College of Philadelphia.


Briana is one of 7 current and former Community College of Philadelphia students who designed exhibits during the Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers project.

An aspiring artist and historian as well as a fourth-generation Philadelphian, Briana drew on her family’s historic ties to the Presbyterian Church to help tell the history of urban renewal and gentrification. Her installation, The History of a Black Presbyterian Church, follows the history of two Black Presbyterian churches originally located in the Society Hill area of Philadelphia: First African Presbyterian Church, the first African American Presbyterian congregation in the United States, and Lombard Street Central Presbyterian Church (renamed Lombard Central after its move to West Philadelphia in the 1930s).

Image from PHS's archives, included in a panel on Kiosk 2 of Briana's exhibit. Girls on way to church. Anniston, Ala., 1929. [Pearl ID: 175896].

Briana’s installation is complemented by the work of her fellow Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers exhibit designers. Impacted and compelled by the news, the team used archival collections to tell the story of the Black church, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, representative public art in Philadelphia, and white Christian attitudes toward Asian communities.

"My idea of successfully building knowledge and breaking barriers includes promoting accessibility of archival materials through community engagement and the arts," Briana says. 


Visitors to PHS can view the Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers exhibit from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Click here to learn more.

View the digital version of the Building Knowledge and Breaking Barriers exhibit.