Letters to the Mayor

As civic figures, architects have a privilege and a responsibility to articulate and translate the collective aspirations of society; particularly for those who are not able to sit at decision-making tables.


Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and the structures of economic, political, and cultural power in different ways with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. In their pursuit to design the next economically driven cultural-iconic-touristic object, an increasing number of architects, as well as political leaders, have undermined the potential of design to participate in the advancement of public life.


Letters to the Mayor is an itinerant exhibition that displays real letters written by architects to their city mayors, and brings innovative ideas and visions of the city closer to the decision-makers, and vice versa.


Storefront for Art and Architecture initiated Letters to the Mayor in New York City in 2014 with a collection of fifty letters from international architects who wrote to their mayors. Subsequent iterations, organized in partnership with local institutions and groups, have brought local and international issues onto the desks of elected officials and into the public consciousness by focusing on the specific issues unique to each city.


Recent and upcoming editions include:


New York — Storefront for Art and Architecture / April 30 – May 24, 2014

Panama City, Panama — JUNTA Espacio de Arquitectura / March 17 – April 27, 2015

Mariupol, Ukraine — IZOYLATSIA / October 23 – November 13, 2015

Bogotá, Colombia — CAMPO Cultural Center / Oct 24 – Dec 19, 2015

Taipei, Taiwan — URS 127 / Jan 8 – 31, 2016

Athens, Greece — METAMATIC: TAF / February 25 – March 6, 2016

Mexico City, Mexico — Arquine / March 5 – April 4, 2016

Buenos Aires, Argentina — Monoespacios /  March 19 – May 21, 2016 

Taichung, Taiwan — MOT Lab / March 25 – April 24, 2016

Sao Paulo, Brazil — Pivo / July 30 – August 27, 2016

Madrid, Spain — COAM –  / Sept 29 – Oct 9, 2016

Lisbon, Portugal — Lisbon Architecture Triennale / October 6 – November 25, 2016