PHILADELPHIA – On Thursday, August 3 at 5:30 p.m., the City of Philadelphia Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE) will host a virtual Public Design Presentation Meeting with the five (5) semi-finalist artists competing to create Philadelphia’s permanent Harriet Tubman statue.
During the Zoom meeting, the five semi-finalists—Vinnie Bagwell, Richard Blake, Tanda Francis, Alvin Pettit, and Basil Watson—will present their statue designs, including images, renderings, and/or models, and describe their vision for the Harriet Tubman statue to the public.
“This is an exciting moment for Philadelphia and one we have all been waiting for since the open call was announced in November of 2022,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “I am sure Philadelphians are as eager as I am to see the result of the artists’ hard work to honor the legacy of Harriet Tubman.”
The semi-finalist artists had seven (7) weeks to create their design proposals and an additional three (3) weeks to fine-tune them prior to the public design presentations, which offer another opportunity for residents to contribute to this historic public art project commission.
“I am excited for the public to see the artists’ designs and how they reflect Harriet Tubman’s story,” said Kelly Lee, Chief Cultural Officer for the City of Philadelphia and Executive Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. “I think they will see very unique interpretations of her journey and courage.”
After the meeting, the artists’ presentation materials, including design images and a written and audio description of the statue, will be available online. The public will have the opportunity to rank their favorite design and provide additional comments through an online survey which will launch after the meeting and remain open through September 1, 2023. Visit CreativePHL.org on August 3 after 8:00 p.m. for the link to complete the survey.
The results of the public survey will be tallied and shared with the African American Historic Statue Advisory Committee (Advisory Committee). The Advisory Committee will evaluate the survey results as one of several important criteria to select the winning artist and statue design.
“Philadelphia’s Harriet Tubman statue is very significant as the first statue of a Black female historical figure in the City’s public art collection,” said Marguerite Anglin, Public Art Director of the Office of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy. “Having Harriet Tubman, a hero and symbol of freedom, on the north corner of City Hall will be a powerful reminder of the contributions of Black women to our history.”
Additional information about the Harriet Tubman statue, the commissioning process, and a full timeline for the project are available here. A recording of the virtual Zoom meeting will be accessible on OACCE’s website on August 4.
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.