NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, Inc., held a press conference today, on the 170th anniversary of the opening day of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, to announce the sculptor for The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Movement Monument Design Competition at The New-York Historical Society. The sculptor is:
- Meredith Bergmann - Examples of past work: Boston Women's Memorial (Abigail Adams, Phillis Wheatley and Lucy Stone), Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA; FDR Hope Memorial, Roosevelt Island, NYC; Marian Anderson, Converse College, Spartanburg, SC; Memorial to Countee Cullen, Bronx Council on the Arts, NYC; September 11th Memorial, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC; and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in collections of Justice Ginsburg and Columbia University.
“I’m honored to have been chosen to make this monument to a movement that transformed our democracy so profoundly from within, and without bloodshed, and that began with two women writing together, composing the most powerful arguments they could imagine. It’s a great subject for a sculpture,” said Ms. Bergmann.
Meredith's winning design will be on exhibit at the New-York Historical Society until the end of July. Plans are also underway for her model to be exhibited at the New York State Museum in Albany in late August for Women's Equality Day.
“Meredith Bergmann has accomplished something that seems to me unique. She has seamlessly expanded the definition of a monument to consist of recognizable portraits; significant and legible texts; and an invitation to viewers to participate in the essence of democracy—the right to vote,” stated Dr. Harriet F. Senie, Director: MA Art History, Art Museum Studies, The City College. “This conflation of elements and the expansive narrative it conveys suggests to me at the very least a new model for memorials, and perhaps even a new paradigm.”
A total of 91 submissions from artists across the country were reviewed by a diverse jury consisting of art and design professionals, historians and representatives from New York City Parks and The Statue Fund.
The call for sculptors involved a Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals, in which The Statue Fund invited sculptors to submit illustrations of previous work, curriculum vitae and their approach to the design of the monument in sketch, text form or both. Four qualified finalists were invited to submit models for the monument. Ms. Bergmann will work with The Statue Fund, as well as Beyer Blinder Belle, the international architecture firm assisting with the management of the program.
“When Beyer Blinder Belle was asked to manage the Central Park statue project, we were both honored and thrilled to be part of this historic undertaking,” explained Richard W. Southwick, Partner and Director of Historic Preservation, Beyer Blinder Belle. “The nation-wide response to the competition was overwhelming, and to help guide the jury to the final selection was very rewarding. Thanks especially to The Statue Fund for making this all possible.”
“We are happy to have broken the bronze ceiling to create the first statue of real women in the 164-year history of NYC's Central Park honoring New Yorkers Stanton and Anthony, as well as all the women who fought for the right to vote,” said Pam Elam, President of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund and its Monumental Women Campaign. “Our project shows the incredible power of moving history forward. The timing is right as we get ready to celebrate the National Woman Suffrage Centennial of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment and the 200th anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony, both in 2020. Our goal is to make people aware of a history that fully, fairly and finally includes the vast and varied roles women have played in it. The official countdown to the 2020 celebrations starts now!”
“In 1776, an idea drove a revolution, ‘All men are created equal.’ In 1848, an irrefutable argument sparked the women’s rights movement, ‘All men and women are created equal.’ Now in the 21st century, with the erection of the first statue of real women in Central Park, women will enter yet another great public forum,” said Coline Jenkins, Vice President of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, Inc., and great-great granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. “The statue campaign thanks you, our thousands of supporters, for your steadfast commitment to equality and equity.”
The New York City Parks Department approved both The Statue Fund's proposal for a statue with the two figures of Stanton and Anthony alongside the names of other suffragists included in the design, as well as the statue location requested by The Statue Fund—the Literary Walk on The Mall in Central Park.
“Today’s announcement marks a major milestone for the creation of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Women’s Suffrage Movement Monument, and Parks is proud to be a part of it,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We are thrilled with Meredith Bergmann’s design and look forward to working with her on this very special product. Not only will this monument add to our understanding of who we are as a people, but it will integrate with the park setting in a highly visible way.”
The Girl Scouts of Greater New York and New York Life were early supporters of the movement. New York Life provided The Statue Fund with a $500,000 challenge grant to illustrate the company’s commitment to diversity and women’s issues and honor the proud historic relationship New York Life had with the Anthony family.
“We are proud to be the lead funder for this historic project. It is an investment that makes sense to us on so many levels—as a company that champions diversity, has deep roots in NYC and a strong connection to Susan B. Anthony, who used the cash value of her New York Life insurance policy in 1900 to guarantee admission for the first female students into the University of Rochester,” said Heather Nesle, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, New York Life. “This is an important day for everyone dedicated to honoring a truly monumental movement.”
The Girl Scouts of Greater New York’s involvement began when members of Troop 3484 learned about the lack of real women represented in the park and pledged a donation of $1,920—symbolic of the ratification of the 19th “Votes For Women” Amendment—from their cookie earnings to The Statue Fund. The troop also rallied in the park to raise awareness of the need for female statues and advocate for the project. As word spread about the initiative throughout the Girl Scouts, more troops joined the effort. Girl Scout Troop 3482 donated $2,000 to the movement, and Troop 3746 helped to announce the finalists of The Woman Suffrage Movement Monument Design Competition and presented The Statue Fund with an impressive $5,000 donation.
“The Girl Scouts of Greater New York is so proud of the girl-led effort by Troop 3484—the girls recognized the need for The Statue Fund and decided to take action to support it, in an effort to make their city a better place,” said Meridith Maskara, CEO of GSGNY. “We’re thrilled that young girls visiting Central Park will soon see examples of female leadership among the many statues there, and we congratulate Meredith Bergmann for the winning design, which will bring that to life.”
In addition to The Girl Scouts of Greater New York and New York Life, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has been among the movement’s earliest and most vocal supporters.
“The design we’re unveiling today will break the bronze ceiling for women in Central Park with a depiction of Stanton, Anthony and the work of movement-building that’s resonant and engaging,” said Ms. Brewer. “This statue will be a worthy celebration of the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I’ll be thrilled to see it in the world’s most recognizable public space. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who has been involved in making this a reality, especially the leaders of The Statue Fund, the competition jury and the winning sculptor.”
#MonumentalWomen is a campaign of The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund, Inc., an all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. All contributions to the group are tax-exempt. For further information or to make a contribution to match the New York Life Challenge Grant, please contact The Statue Fund at www.monumentalwomen.org or Post Office Box 150-074, Van Brunt Station, Brooklyn, NY 11215.