PITTSBURGH, PA (March 14, 2018) Mayor William Peduto and his Task Force on Women in Public Art are seeking the public's help in selecting an African American woman to be honored with a statue at the site of the Stephen Foster statue in North Oakland.
There are very few monuments in Pittsburgh dedicated to the many women leaders who have left their mark on the city. At present, there are no African American women represented. As the Stephen Foster statue is set to be removed from its current site in April, the city has a unique opportunity to build something in its place honoring the legacy of African American women and their impressive leadership in Pittsburgh.
Public art is a vehicle to tell local histories, to enhance quality of life, to add beauty and value to the urban landscape and to inspire people across all cultures, generations and economic circumstances. The City of Pittsburgh believes in inclusivity and equality, and ensuring that all can see themselves in the art around them. It is imperative then that our public art reflect the diversity of our city and that we accordingly represent our diverse heroes.
The Peduto administration has been working with a myriad of organizations including Gwen’s Girls, Hill House Association, Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Women and Girls Foundation, the Women’s Institute at Chatham University and the Urban League to begin the process of commissioning public art representing women of color and their many notable achievements. To that end they are urging that the Pittsburgh community be involved in helping to select an African American woman be honored in statue-form in place of the Stephen Foster installation.
Community meetings to gather public input will soon be scheduled and a web forum will be open so that residents can nominate African American women who should be celebrated as a statue. The forum can be found at http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/survey/index.html.
The Task Force will use input from the community meetings to inform a Request for Proposals that will be issued for the artwork. The City’s Public Art Commission will review and deliberate on the proposed location and artwork. The Public Art and Civic Design Division in collaboration with other city departments will then support the procurement and installation process.
The Task Force on Women in Public Art was formed last year by the Mayor's Chief of Staff Dan Gilman when he was still on City Council. Members include:
Heather Arnet, Chief Executive Officer of the Women and Girls Foundation
Terri Baltimore, Director of Neighborhood Engagement of the Hill House Association
Olivia Benson, Community Engagement Director of the Women and Girls Foundation
Esther Bush, President & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh
Dr. Kathi Elliot, Executive Director of Gwen's Girls
Kevin Jenkins, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
Dr. Jessie B Ramey, Director of the Women's Institute at Chatham University
Valerie McDonald-Roberts, Chief of Urban Affairs
Itha Cao, Policy Analyst
Gloria Forouzan, Office Manager
Yesica Guerra, Public Art and Civic Design Manager
Lindsay Powell, Policy Analyst
“As Mayor, I am excited and passionate about this project. Public art shows what we value and want to memorialize for all to see," Mayor Peduto said. "I look forward to the community’s input to see how we can remember and commemorate African American women and all their contributions in the City of Pittsburgh."