BRONZE BARRIER BROKEN

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.

TRANSCRIPT

> 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.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019