New York Wants Your Help to Create a Monument Honoring the City’s Historic Women

artnet News | Sarah Cascone

It’s about time: New York City is taking a concrete step to correct the imbalance among city monuments, which overwhelmingly honor the achievements of men, rather than women. First Lady Chirlaine McCray and Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen have announced a new effort, She Built NYC, that will commission a new public monument or artwork on city property honoring women’s history in New York. “This is a first step to creating a public art collection that more accurately represents the diversity of New York City’s history,” McCray said at a press conference, according to the New York Post. The effort, led by the Department of Cultural Affairs, is kicking off with an open call for nominations, running through August 1. New Yorkers are invited to submit their suggestions on of worthy women who are no longer living, as well as groups of women and milestones or significant moments in women’s history from at least 20 years ago.

An advisory panel will create a list of nominees based on submissions, with Cultural Affairs and Percent for Art making the final decision. The honoree and site of the monument will be announced in January 2019.

If the effort is admirable, it’s also long overdue—and many more like it will be required to achieve equality among New York’s male and female monuments. In 2015, Hyperallergic found that there are only five public statues of historic female figures in the entire city (Fearless Girl, for the record, doesn’t count as a monument). In Central Park, where there are 29 statues, not one is of a historical woman; there are only tributes to fictional female characters like Alice in Wonderland. In contrast, Gothamist found nearly 150 historical statues of men. (In November, the Parks Department dedicated a site for future sculptures of suffragette leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony)…read more

Image: Statue of Eleanor Roosevelt in Riverside Park