Looks like women are finally getting honored for their monumental achievements in both American and New York City history thanks to two initiatives pushing for more female representation in the city’s statues. The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and She Built NYC are setting precedents for bringing permanent public works depicting women to the streets in monument form. Last month, The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund announced the winning design for an upcoming statue of the famed female suffragettes by sculptor Meredith Bergmann, whose piece will be erected in the park on August 26, 2020, just in time for the centennial anniversary of the establishment of women’s right to vote. Gothamist reported that the statue will showcase the figures cast in bronze and writing out arguments for women's rights on an elongated scroll. The pair is well-known for penning the lady’s liberation paper, The Revolution, which ran in print from 1868 to 1872. According to Gothamist, the organization said in a press release that they’re proud “to have broken the bronze ceiling to finally start the creation of the first statue of REAL women in Central Park’s 164-year history.” A monument for the women's suffrage movement has been in planning for several years. A request for proposals went out last November, to which 90 sculptors submitted designs. As Bergman's chosen design awaits approval by the New York Public Design Commission, a model of the statue is on view at the New York Historical Society through August 26. Another program helping to elevate women’s historical contributions to New York is She Built NYC, a new advisory panel put together by the De Blasio administration that’s dedicated to preserving and highlighting female figures in New York from 20 years ago or more. Through the City's Percent for Art program, She Built NYC will select nominated figures for public works projects to go up over the next four years. This fall, the panel will vote on the first submitted nominations, which were collected during an open call this summer. The Department of Cultural Affairs has already committed up to $10 million for these new public monuments. The chosen subject and site of the first project will be announced in January. “There are big gaps in our City’s public art, with few statues of women, trans, and gender nonconforming people,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray in a press release. “The message that lack of representation sends is that these people have no value and did not make contributions to our city. This first step we are taking will help us more accurately show the diversity in the people who helped make New York City so great.” The upcoming Elizabeth C. Stanton and Susan B. Anthony statue will mark the sixth statue in all of New York depicting a female historical figure. The others depict Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Harriet Tubman. It will also be the first statue in Central Park’s 840 acres to honor real women. The other 23 statues are of men while the only two female statues are fictional characters Juliet and Alice in Wonderland.
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It’s been nearly 100 years since the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the world’s fair celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal, was held in San Diego. In preparation for the centennial, AIA San Diego and the San Diego Museum of Art recently held an ideas competition for improvements to Balboa Park, the site of the fair. The 1,200-acre park is home to a number of museums and other cultural facilities, including the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Natural History Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Art, plus cultivated gardens and family-friendly amusements. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition received 44 entries from both professional and non-professional designers. The jury met December 7th to award five merit prizes and two top-place awards. “Overall, the jury was impressed by the quality of the presentations and the renderings and grateful for the time and effort expended on their preparation,” an AIA San Diego press release stated. The five entries earning special recognition from the jury included two transit-oriented designs. A submission from San Diego Historic Streetcars showcased that organization’s ongoing efforts to bring streetcars back to the city, while a team from Place Architecture proposed an elevated tramway connecting Balboa Park to the waterfront and Petco Park. The three other merit-award winners were “P.R.A.D.O,” from Di Donato Associates; “Balboa Park Experience,” from NewSchool of Architecture + Design, and “Soaring Above,” from a team led by Jonathan Chau. In a modern take on City Beautiful logic, “P.R.A.D.O.” features a series of architectural monuments placed throughout the park, with a covered pedestrian walkway along its eastern edge framing views of the city beyond. “Balboa Park Experience,” which the press release called a “surprising green solution,” threads a linear park under and around the freeway entrance to the south end of the park. “Soaring Above” envisions a network of towers orienting visitors within the park, and offering elevated viewpoints in and around the green space. The People’s Choice Award, selected by visitors to theSan Diego Museum of Art, was “Reflections” by Jeffrey Taitano, a student of NewSchool of Architecture + Design. Taitano proposed the installation of a large abstracted gate at the park’s entrance, with other park elements—including event boards and bus stops—built to match the main structure’s minimalist aesthetic. The Balboa Park Centennial Gateway Competition jury awarded the second-place prize to “Hillcrest Fruit Farm,” from an undergraduate team at NewSchool of Architecture + Design. The submission imagines the creation of a fruit orchard along the northern boundary of Balboa Park, paying homage to horticulturist Kate Sessions as well as landscape architect Samuel Parson’s vision for the park as the city’s food producer. Finally, the jury split the first-place award three ways, recognizing elements of submissions from De Bartolo + Rimanic Design Studio (“Gateway of Connectivity”), domusstudio architecture (“Park the Dump/Dump the Cars”), and N. Looney Architecture (“Park Boulevard is not an Edge”). “While the Jury felt that each had individual flaws,” the press release explained, “collectively they captured important goals for the Park.” “Park the Dump/Dump the Cars” and “Park Boulevard is not an Edge” both addressed the disposition of the former landfill within Balboa Park, as well as the reabsorption of land currently used for parking. All three winners emphasized the need for to better connect the park and neighboring communities.