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Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee

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Public Art To Commemorate Women Winning The Right To Vote

The City of Cambridge's 19th Amendment Centennial Art Selection Committee is considering four proposals for a permanent public artwork to commemorate the centennial of American women winning the right to vote with the passage of 19th Amendment in 1920 and to recognize the ongoing struggle for voting rights for all. The winning selection will be constructed at Cambridge Common.

The feedback period has ended, and we thank everyone who submitted comments on the proposals. All comments have been provided to the Selection Committee and the compiled feedback is available here.

Additional information about the artists’ proposals, site selection, and project background is provided below. If you have any questions about the project, please contact Jennifer Mathews, Assistant to the City Manager, or Lillian Hsu, Director of Public Art & Exhibitions.

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Artist Proposals

To view the full proposals, click the artist's name, project title, or proposal photo to go to the proposal page. Each proposal page includes a brief written summary and video presentation prepared by the artist.

Why Cambridge Common?

CONTINUED SITING DISCUSSION AND DEVELOPMENT

The artistic proposals above are concept proposals, not detailed proposals. Many details will remain to be finalized with the selected artist. Certain specifics about materials, design, fabrication, site placement, maintenance, community engagement, and more will be worked out in earnest after a proposal is selected.

The Committee understands the importance of ensuring that the selected proposal works with the Common as a vital, open, green space for the City; and absolutely no trees will be removed as part of this project. The selected proposal must also be approved by the Cambridge Historical Commission.

The artists’ proposals are for a particular location within the Common – along the paved pathway extending from the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Waterhouse Street.

HOW WAS THE COMMON SELECTED

The Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee considered many potential sites through a months-long deliberative process. The Committee began by reviewing 8 sites. In June 2019, the Committee visited its 5 preferred sites, and further narrowed its consideration to: Joan Lorentz Park, the Cambridge Common, and Tubman Square.

Committee members and City staff presented to the Cambridge Historical Commission twice (at publicly advertised public meetings), in August and November 2019, on the possibility of siting the artwork on Cambridge Common. Similar presentations were made to the Joan Lorentz Park Committee and the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Conservation District Commission, in July and September 2019, about siting in Joan Lorentz Park.

The Committee received positive and constructive comments from the Cambridge Historical Commission at its November 2019 meeting. Informed by the community feedback and its goals for this historic project, the Committee selected Cambridge Common as the site. The Committee also incorporated the Historical Commission’s feedback into the Guidelines for the Finalist Artists:

  • Directing the finalists to consider the Common’s historical, social and cultural attributes as well as its physical characteristics; and
  • Specifying that the artwork should respond to the overall site of the Common and position itself in harmony with the surrounding landscape and tone of the historic park.

The Committee considers Cambridge Common an excellent site for many reasons:

  • It is a public space of great historical and contemporary importance as an epicenter of civic activity in Cambridge.
  • It evokes a sense of suffragists claiming their place and joining the conversation in this community space. The vote is the ultimate expression of civic engagement and should be celebrated on the Common – which has a long and proud history of civic gathering and demonstration.
  • It offers a complementary perspective for existing public art on the Common – focusing on patriotism, empowerment and liberty.
  • Children of all ages spend time in the Common, from the playground to sports leagues to quiet enjoyment. This art will provide an opportunity to teach children even more about our nation’s history and the importance of enfranchisement and participating in our democracy.
  • It offers an artist the opportunity to create a reflective and dynamic space that respects the open space of the Common and works in harmony with other artwork and monuments there.
  • The Common is located in the center of the City and enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors each day; including a diverse population of students, families and international visitors.

The Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee is expanding to a larger Selection Committee, to include additional community members and perspectives.

The Selection Committee will meet virtually on:

  • August 13, 2020, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M. – Selection Committee Meeting #1. Virtual Q&A meeting with each finalist.
    • Please note that this meeting will be accessible to the public. However, there will not be a public comment period. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Selection Committee to interview the artists directly about their proposals.

  • September 3, 2020, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M. – Selection Committee Meeting #2. Virtual deliberation and selection of winning proposal.
    •  Please note that this meeting will be accessible to the public. However, there will not be a public comment period. 

The anticipated project timeline includes:

  • July 9 – August 3, 2020 – Public feedback period. The deadline for public feedback is August 3rd at 8:00 P.M.

  • August 13, 2020, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M.Selection Committee Meeting #1. Virtual Q&A meeting with each finalist.
    • Please note that this meeting will be accessible to the public. However, there will not be a public comment period. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Selection Committee to interview the artists directly about their proposals.

  • September 3, 2020, 5:00 – 7:30 P.M.Selection Committee Meeting #2.  Virtual deliberation and selection of winning proposal.
    • Please note that this meeting will be accessible to the public. However, there will not be a public comment period. 

  • TBD: Historical Commission review of selected proposal, for placement on Cambridge Common.

  • September 2020 & Beyond: Continued community engagement and programming around selected proposal. Installation is anticipated to take approx. 2 years.

Cambridge is commemorating the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment and recognizing the Cambridge women who fought tirelessly for women’s right to vote.

At the direction of the City Council, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale established the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee in April 2019 to commission public artwork. The City is committed to commissioning art that recognizes the representative story of the 19th Amendment and highlights the contributions of underrepresented Cambridge women. With the support of City staff, the Committee:

  • Set goals for the public art piece;
  • Selected the Cambridge Common as the artwork site;
  • Directed an art jury to select four artist-finalists to develop proposals;
  • Drafted detailed guidelines for the artists; and
  • Is leading public outreach and reviewing public input on the artist proposals.

The core Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee is expanding to a larger Selection Committee, to include additional community members and perspectives. The Selection Committee will choose the winning proposal in September 2020.

  • April 2019: Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Committee formed.
  • Aug. – Sept. 2019: Call to Artists announces project and requests artist submissions.
  • Oct. 2019: Art Jury – Elisa H. Hamilton, Stella McGregor, and Cecily Miller – selects four finalists to develop artwork proposals.
  • Dec. 2019: Committee issues Guidelines for the Finalist Artists.
  • Jan. & Feb. 2020: Community meetings on project. See presentation.
    • Artists attended February meeting and received direct feedback from public attendees.
  • June 15, 2020: Artist proposals submitted *(deadline extended from April 13, 2020 due to COVID-19)

The Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art Committee members are:

  • Barbara Berenson, author of Massachusetts in the Women Suffrage Movement
  • Sarah Burks, Historical Commission
  • Marian Darlington Hope, member of the Pentecostal Tabernacle; Cambridge resident
  • Tanya Ford-Crump, Executive Director, Election Commission
  • Jane Kamensky, Director of Schlesinger Library; Cambridge resident
  • Vanessa Till Hooper, Founder/Creative Director at Studio HHH, a digital design studio developing permanent or temporary experiences within the built environment; Cambridge resident
  • Gail Willett, fiber artist; Cambridge resident
  • Kimberly Sansoucy, Women’s Commission
  • Honorary Members - Kim and Sofia Bernstein, mother and daughter (VSUS) interested in having a monument for women’s suffrage; working to put a woman on the $20-dollar bill

 

The larger Selection Committee will include all members of the Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art Committee as well as other community representatives. View the Selection Committee member list here. 

The Committee will also include and work with the full support of staff members from the City Manager's Office, Arts Council, Department of Public Works, the Election Commission, the Historical Commission, and the Women’s Commission.

 

Jennifer Mathews
Assistant to the City Manager
City of Cambridge
(617) 349-4221
jmathews@cambridgema.gov

Page was posted on 5/15/2019 4:00 PM
Page was last modified on 9/3/2020 10:00 AM
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