She Built NYC: De Blasio Administration Announces Advisory Panel To Commission Public Artwork Honoring Local Women And Women’s History

June 20, 2018

The public can nominate women, groups of women, or moments in women’s history starting today at women.nyc

NEW YORK—Today, First Lady Chirlane McCray, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen and the Department of Cultural Affairs announced She Built NYC, a new effort to commission a public monument or artwork on City property that honors women’s history in New York City. The effort kicks off with an open call for nominations from the public which will run through August 1, 2018. During this time, New Yorkers can submit their ideas for how to honor the inspiring, diverse people and events that comprise the history of New York women. Visitors to women.nyc can submit nominations of women, groups of women, and events involving women that significantly impacted the history of New York City. Nominated events must have happened at least 20 years ago; nominated individuals must no longer be living and known for an event, movement, or action that took place at least 20 years ago.

“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. “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.”

“She Built NYC puts women in their rightful place – on pedestals,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Economic Development. “The people we celebrate in our public realm can either inspire young girls to dream big, or it can perpetuate the message that women have not contributed to society – something we know is untrue.”

She Built NYC builds on the recommendations of the Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers to expand the stories, histories, and narratives represented on public property in New York. These representations have historically failed to reflect the trailblazing women that have contributed to the City. The Department of Cultural Affairs has committed up to $10 million over the next four years to commissioning new permanent public monuments and commemorations.

“New York was made into the extraordinary city it is by people from all backgrounds who have come here to live, work, advocate, play, raise families, make art, and everything in between,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. "But this rich history is not reflected in our public spaces, where a story focused on a small group - overwhelmingly men - dominates. Starting today, I’m humbled and honored to be a part of the She Built NYC effort  to tell a fuller story in the art and monuments on City property. This is just one more step toward creating a more inclusive public realm, and we invite all New Yorkers to share their ideas."

In the fall, using submissions from the open call, an advisory panel with individuals representing a broad range of expertise and backgrounds will create a list of nominees for commemoration. The woman, group, or event that is honored with a monument, and which artist will create the monument, will be determined by DCLA and the City’s Percent for Art commissioning process. The subject and site of the monument will be announced in January 2019.

Chair
Pauline Toole, Commissioner, NYC Department of Records and Information Services

Members

  1. Amy Freitag, Executive Director, JM Kaplan Fund
  2. Catie Marron, CEO, Good Companies
  3. Harriet F. Senie, Director of the M.A. program in Art History and Art Museum Studies, City College of New York
  4. Mabel O. Wilson, Professor of Architecture at Columbia University GSAPP
  5. Susana Torruella Leval, Director Emerita, El Museo del Barrio
  6. Kemi Ilesanmi, Executive Director, The Laundromat Project
  7. Sandra Jackson-Dumont, Frederick P. and Sandra P. Rose Chairman of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  8. Simi Linton, Co-Director of Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force (DANT), author, and filmmaker
  9. Prerana Reddy, Program Director, Blade of Grass
  10. Robina Afzal, Student, Urban Assembly School for Criminal Justice
  11. Janice Monger, CEO & President, Staten Island Museum
  12. Elia Alba, Visual artist; exhibits internationally and has work in the collections of the Smithsonian Museum of Art, El Museo del Barrio, Lowe Art Museum, etc.
  13. Ahsia Badi, Vice-Chair Manhattan's Community Board Six; Senior Policy Associate The New York Academy of Medicine
  14. Alessandra Belloni, Singer, Percussionist, Dancer, Author
  15. Rick Chavolla, Chair, American Indian Community House
  16. Ramona Hernandez, Director, CUNY Dominican Studies Institute & Professor of Sociology,  The Colin L. Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership/Division of Social Science
  17. Valerie Paley, Vice President, Chief Historian and Director, Center for Women's History, NY Historical Society
  18. Cecilia Gentili , Director of Policy at GMHC

"As we campaigned for the Women's Suffrage Movement Monument now planned in Central Park, the fact that shocked people again and again as we repeated it was that no real woman, present or past, had a statue or monument anywhere in the park's 843 acres," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "Thank you to my partners at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton & Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and to every single person who has raised their voice for women's representation in our public spaces. The growing movement for representation has led to exciting new projects like this one that acknowledge the gap and will further contribute to closing it."

"New York State has a rich history of female leadership and women empowerment that dates back to The Woman Suffrage Movement of the 1800s. It is a shame that as a state we have failed for centuries to memorialize all that women have done for New York and for our country. But as the saying goes, better late than never,” said Senator Marisol Alcantara. “I applaud the city's effort to establish a Women's Monument Commission that will look into erecting monuments that present female leadership. While to some a monument may just be carved out stone, the symbolism behind this form our art can be extremely powerful to young girls. It is an opportunity for them to see who they can become in the future. I look forward to a working with this commission in ensuring that women of diverse backgrounds are considered for memorialization."

"The story of New York City's success through the centuries has been the story of women's contributions. But too often that story has remained untold, particularly for women of color whose achievements were literally written out of the historical record. The time has come to redress that indignity and restore their vital contributions to a place of honor in our city." said Senator Roxanne Persaud.

“This project will serve as a daily reminder of the resilience and success the women have strived for over numerous years . I am proud of the recognition and the impact these monuments’ presence will have on young women everywhere. Women are strong, women are powerful, and women must be recognized,” said Assemblymember Maritza Davila.

“This is going to be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements, to uncover the amazing accomplishments of hidden figures and to inspire young girls and young women with the enduring strength and creativity of New York women throughout our history,” said Assemblymember Aravella Simotas.

“The lack of women monuments in New York City has been a reflection of a time when women's accomplishments were undervalued and overlooked in favor of men's. The fight for equal rights and recognition for women continues today, and it is critical that the monuments in our city reflect our ongoing struggle for equality and female empowerment,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “I look forward to working with stakeholders and the city to celebrate and honor key historical women-led movements in New York City."

“The City’s decision to commission statues and monuments commemorating important women and events in New York City’s history is long overdue,” said Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte. “I am also pleased by the diversity and talent on the commission dedicated to this project which will ensure that whoever the commission honors will be worthy.”

“For hundreds of years, women have helped to shape and lead NYC; now their work will finally get the public recognition it deserves,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. “By honoring historically significant women, She Built NYC will present a more honest and inclusiveness picture of the history of our city and inspire future generations of women and girls to lead.”

“The stories and accomplishments of women have been too often overlooked throughout history, especially in our great public monuments,” said Council Member Debi Rose. “Their stories should be told an their accomplishments celebrated, not only to give them the honor they deserve, but also to inspire future generations of young women. I encourage residents throughout the city to take a close look at the women who have inspired them in their own journeys and nominate them so that they might inspire others.”

“On behalf of the Stanton and Anthony Statue Fund and our Monumental Women Campaign to break the bronze ceiling in Central Park to honor all the women who fought for the right to vote, I am pleased to congratulate the She Built NYC campaign on its new effort to honor valiant New York women in monument form,” said Pam Elam, President, Stanton and Anthony Statue Fund. and its Monumental Women Campaign. “As an all-volunteer group trying to raise private funds to create the first statue of REAL women in Central Park's 164-year history, we know how hard it is to move history forward.  We hope that NYC can lead the way in re-thinking the use of its public spaces to honor all those who have helped make our City great, especially women and people of color.”

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