Public Spaces

As part of the Campus Iconography Committee, the Public Spaces Working Group (PSWG) seeks to identify and enliven “public” campus interior and exterior spaces (i.e., spaces without primary occupants such as individual academic or administrative units) in ways that reflect and connect with the campus community’s diversity. The PSWG works with campus partners to determine the objectives for adornments and objects in those spaces, including the potential for temporary installations and exhibits. Objectives may include promoting dialogue, reflection and a sense of community. The PSWG engages with the Campus Art Steering Committee and the Office of the University Architect, as appropriate.

In addition, the PSWG encourages residential colleges and academic and administrative units to diversify iconography in their spaces. A primary goal of the PSWG is to identify opportunities for students to lead the implementation of select projects. To support these projects, the PSWG is available to serve as a consultant, adviser and/or resource to groups as they determine the objectives for their spaces.


HYPHEN Exhibit

Open to the public
Chancellor Green, Upper and Lower Hyphens

The PSWG has installed a photography exhibit of the work of current students and recent graduates that focuses on the University’s diverse student population, their experiences at home and their lives at Princeton. The exhibit opened in the Upper and Lower Hyphens of Chancellor Green on May 8, 2018 with a panel discussion by the artists and light refreshments.

Photos from the Hyphen Exhibit

1 “St. Jude’s Grotto,” by Angélica María Vielma, Class of 2018
2 “Portrait of My Friend Sarah,” by Yuanyuan Zhao, Class of 2019

All of our students lead hyphenated lives. Many of them are culturally hyphenated, with identities rooted in more than one history. Undergraduate college life itself is a hyphened existence between a family at home and community at Princeton. The pictures hover between documentary views of student lives and complete photographic inventions. ... If you sense an incompleteness in some of the photographs, an unrefined edge, a stutter, it reflects an emergence. That is the hyphen. "Hyphens" and in-betweens are amazing generative forces of strength, beauty and knowledge.
Jeff Whetstone, Professor of Visual Arts, Chair of the Public Spaces Working Group

Learn more about the HYPHEN exhibit


James Johnson Exhibit

Open to the public 
Frist Campus Center, East TV Lounge

James Johnson

Courtesy University Archives, Princeton University Library

A photography exhibit on the life of James Johnson is on display in the East TV Lounge. The photographs offer a view into the six decades that Johnson spent on and around Princeton’s campus, from 1843 to 1902.

James “Jimmy” Collins Johnson escaped from slavery in Maryland in 1839 and came to Princeton. He worked as a janitor on campus for four years until a student and former neighbor recognized him and turned him in. Although he was brought to trial under the Fugitive Slave Act and ordered to be returned to his former owner, a local woman purchased his freedom for about $500, which Johnson subsequently repaid. Over the next 60 years, he worked on campus in various capacities; most notably, in the memory of students, as the only vendor to sell apples, candy, peanuts, lemonade and other snacks on campus.

The exhibit’s location in Princeton’s well-trafficked student center brings his story to all members of the University community and its visitors.

Read more about Jimmy Johnson


EQuad Café

Engineering Quad C Wing

The recently enhanced EQuad Café is a vibrant, playful, welcoming space that tells the story of life at the Engineering School.

EQuad Cafe