BRONZE BARRIER BROKEN

August 08, 2018 at 4:45 am

The statues in Central Park are no longer an all-boys club. Find out which women will be breaking the gender barrier in one of our city’s treasures.

Aired on August 7, 2018.

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>>> A POLISH KING, A VENEZUELAN
MILITARY LEADER, A SLED DOG, ALL
STATUES LOCATED IN CENTRAL PARK.
INTERESTING FACT FOR YOU, NOT A
SINGLE STATUE HONORING A WOMAN.
BUT NOW THE ELIZABETH KATY
STANTON AND SUSAN B. ANTHONY
STATUE FUND IS WORKING TO BREAK
THE BRONZE CEILING, BY PLACING
THE FIRST STATUE OF HISTORICAL
WOMEN IN CENTRAL PARK.
MERRITH BERGMAN IS THE WINNING
ARTIST.
IT'S SLATED FOR A 2020
UNVEILING.
TO DISCUSS THE STATUE FUNDS,
CURRENT "METROFOCUS" INTERN.
IT IS SO NICE TO HAVE YOU HERE
SITTING TALKING WITH YOU.
USUALLY, YOU AND I ARE OUTSIDE
AND YOU'RE HANDING ME NOTES AND
GIVING ME THOUGHTS ON INTERVIEW
SUBJECTS.
SO WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU
HERE WITH US.
>> THANK YOU.
>> SO FIRST QUESTION FOR YOU IS
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN ALL
OF THIS?
>> I GREW UP IN NEW YORK CITY
WITH CENTRAL PARK AS MY
BACKYARD.
IT WASN'T UNTIL I READ A "NEW
YORK TIMES" ARTICLE ABOUT THE
STATUE FUND THAT I LEARNED ABOUT
THE LACK OF WOMEN STATUES IN
CENTRAL PARK.
STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL, I
CONTACTED THE PRESIDENT OF THE
STATUE FUND AND ORGANIZED A
GROUP OF STUDENTS ALSO INVOLVED
AND THAT'S HOW I BECAME A
VOLUNTEER AND THEN LATER
DIRECTOR.
>> I WAS, QUITE HONESTLY, I WAS
ASTONISHED TO LEARN AS A
CONSEQUENCE OF GETTING PREPARED
TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION WITH
YOU TODAY THAT THERE WERE NO
HISTORICAL WOMEN STATUES IN
CENTRAL PARK.
DO WE KNOW WHY?
>> AFTER READING THE ARTICLE, I
JUST KEPT ASKING MYSELF, NOW,
HOW COULD I HAVE NOT REALIZED
SOONER THAT THERE ARE NO REAL
STATUES IN CENTRAL PARK, AND
THAT'S A REACTION MANY PEOPLE
HAVE IN FINDING OUT THIS
INFORMATION.
AND TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, IT
SPEAKS TO THE LARGE E ISSUE OF
VISIBILITY FOR WOMEN IN ALL
ASPECTS OF SOCIETY, BEYOND JUST
IN OUR PUBLIC SPACES, YOU KNOW,
S.T.E.M., POLITICS, SPORTS, A
VAST NUMBER OF OTHER
OCCUPATIONS.
I THINK IT'S REALLY UNTIL PEOPLE
BEGIN TO SLOWLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE
VARIOUS CONTRIBUTIONS THESE
WOMEN HAD MADE THROUGHOUT
SOCIETY, WILL THEY REALLY
QUESTION WHY WE DON'T HAVE
STATUES IN CENTRAL PARK?
>> EXPLAIN FOR US THE PROCESS
NOW.
ONCE THESE FOLKS FINALLY SAID,
WAIT A MINUTE, WE HAVE TO
RECTIFY THIS.
HOW DO THEY GO ABOUT DOING IT?
>> WE JUST HAD OUR DESIGN
COMPETITION.
THE FIRST STAGE WAS A REQUEST
FOR QUALIFICATION.
AND THEN A JURY OF ART AND
DESIGN PROFESSIONALS,
REPRESENTATIVES FROM NYC PARKS
AND THE STATUE FUND, AS WELL AS
HISTORIANS SELECTED FOUR
SEMIFINALISTS WHO CREATED A
McCAN HE NOT.
AND FROM THERE IT WAS WITH GREAT
PLEASURE AND PRIDE THAT WE
ANNOUNCED MEREDITH BERGMAN THE
WINNER.
>> YOU PROVIDED ME A PHOTO OF
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
WHAT I WAS STRUCK BY IS NOT ONLY
THE MAJESTY OF THE TWO OF THEM
IN THE WAY THEY ARE STAGED IN
THIS, BUT ALSO THAT ON THE
SCULPTURE ITSELF IS THE WORD
"VOTE."
WHY WAS THAT SO IMPORTANT?
>> THE STATUE OF SUSAN B.
ANTHONY AND ELIZABETH KATY
STANTON.
STANTON IS IN A SEATED POSITION
WITH A LONG SCROLL, PERHAPS A
SPEECH, AND ANTHONY IS NEXT TO
HER, LOOKING OVER.
AND THE SCROLL ENDS, AS YOU
MENTIONED, ON A BALLOT BOX THAT
SAYS "VOTE."
I THINK THAT MESSAGE WILL REALLY
COME ACROSS TO ALL THE PARK
VIEWERS IN A WAY THEY CAN REALLY
ENGAGE WHAT THIS MONUMENT
REPRESENTS.
FOR ME THIS MONUMENT REPRESENTS
MORE THAN WOMEN'S EQUALITY, LIKE
UNDER THE LAW OR IN SOCIETY, BUT
WHAT IT MEANS TO LIVE IN A
DEMOCRATIC NATION.
YOU KNOW, I THINK MANY PEOPLE
TAKE VOTING FOR GRANTED.
AND NOW, MORE THAN EVER, ARE
REALIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF
HAVING A POLITICAL VOICE FOR
SOCIAL CHANGE.
THAT'S WHAT STANTON AND ANTHONY
AND ALL THE OTHER WOMEN FIGHTING
FOR THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE BELIEVED
IN AT THE END OF THE DAY.
>> WE TALKED ABOUT THE FUND.
WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?
>> DONATIONS.
>> HOW IS IT MOVING FORWARD SO
FAR?
>> MOVING FORWARD, WE HAVE A
TARGETED $1.5 MILLION TO
COMMISSION AND MAINTAIN THE
STATUE, AND WE'RE VERY CLOSE TO
MEETING THAT TARGETED GOAL, BUT
NOT YET.
SO PLEASE DONATE TO
MONUMENTALWOMEN.ORG.
>> ARRIAL IT'S A PLEASURE
TALKING TO YOU.
WE LOVE HAVING YOU HERE WORKING
WITH US.
THE WORK YOU'RE DOING IS JUST
MARVELOUS.
WE'RE GLAD IT'S DONE SO WELL SO
FAR.
WE'LL CATCH UP WITH YOU DOWN THE
ROAD.
>> THANK YOU.
>> A REMINDER HOW YOU CAN BRING
MONUMENTAL WOMEN TO CENTRAL
PARK, VISIT US AT
METROFOCUS.ORG.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, and Judy and Josh Weston.

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