PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) and the African American Historic Statue Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee) are pleased to announce that five talented artists have been selected by the Advisory Committee as semi-finalists who will create and propose original designs of Harriet Tubman. The winning design will become a permanent statue located on the northeast apron of City Hall that celebrates Harriet Tubman’s life, legacy, and contributions to our nation’s history.
“Installing a permanent statue of Harriet Tubman for all Philadelphians to honor and celebrate has been a long time coming,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I am pleased by the talented and diverse pool of artists that have been carefully selected by the African American Historic Statue Advisory Committee and look forward to their proposals. I also want to thank members of the committee for their thoughtfulness and commitment to the selection process and to helping make this vision a reality.”
The five semi-finalists were among the 50 artists who responded to the Call for Artists, which opened on November 30, 2022 and closed on January 26, 2023. The Call for Artists was distributed locally and nationally to attract the most qualified and skilled artists to compete for Philadelphia’s permanent Harriet Tubman statue.
“Each semi-finalist has a unique point of view and artistic style. They shared previous works of art that illustrated their history of creating high-quality monumental statues that are both engaging and impactful,” said Marguerite Anglin, Public Art Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy. “I am confident that we will have the best and most suitable artist for such an important installation, and I look forward to working with them.”
“The Harriet Tubman statue will be the first statue of a Black female historic figure in the City of Philadelphia’s public art collection so this is not a small project or opportunity,” said Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia and Executive Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. “In addition to their ability to create amazing statues, the semi-finalists demonstrated their strong understanding of the historic significance of this project which is exactly what we were looking for in an artist. I am excited to see each proposal and take one step closer to reaching a final design.”
OACCE will host two separate public meetings. The first meeting will be early in the design process where semi-finalists will hear directly from Philadelphians. The second meeting will provide semi-finalists the opportunity to present renderings and/or models of their statue proposals and Philadelphians another opportunity to provide feedback.
“We want every resident of Philadelphia to be a part of this historic moment. We encourage everyone to engage in the selection process by attending these public meetings and making their voice heard,” added Kelly Lee.
Learn more about the five semi-finalists and their artwork:
More information about the process for commissioning Philadelphia’s Permanent Harriet Tubman statue, including the full timeline for the project, is available on OACCE’s website.
About the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy closes the gap in access to quality cultural experiences and creative expression through the support and promotion of arts, culture and the creative industries; connecting Philadelphians to enriching, arts-infused experiences; linking local artists and cultural organizations to resources and opportunities, and preserving the City’s public art assets. For more information about the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, visit CreativePHL.org and follow @CreativePHL on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.