Diversity in Public Art

Public Art Event and Juried Exhibition

A day-long art & community family event with a related exhibit in the BCC Hall of Fame Gallery.

The event will feature several exhibits to be installed for the day in the Hall of Fame for Great Americans. The exhibits will express the artists’ perspective of inclusion, diversity, and bias in defining Great Americans through their genre of choice: art, music, dance, spoken work, media and/or performance.

Following the event, which is scheduled for Saturday, September 21, 2019, and is expected to attract 1,000 visitors and participants to the BCC campus, selected art works will be exhibited in the BCC Hall of Fame Art Gallery. “Diversity in Public Art” will remain on display for several weeks, to allow faculty to incorporate its themes into classroom conversations, and to allow for greater public access.

The idea behind “Diversity in Public Art”

Statues removed, buildings renamed, famous names recast as ignominious––these recent actions have presented us with opportunity. We are at a critical juncture. In these ever more divisive times, we need to acknowledge erasures and call for more inclusivity in how we commemorate as we seek out ways to be more culturally responsive to our communities. The present climate opens up spaces for alternative narratives and brings us new perspectives on our past. We are asking to hear from artists working in every medium––visual, audial, performance––any means by which they might engage with public art to shift the frameworks of representation.

Our site is the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in the Bronx, the first hall of fame ever established in the United States. It includes authors, educators, architects, inventors, military leaders, judges, theologians, philanthropists, humanitarians, scientists, statesmen, artists, musicians, actors, and explorers. For years, there have been various attempts by historians, faculty, students, and the Archives at the Bronx Community College campus to re-envision the historic Hall of Fame so that it may resonate with its surroundings. Reflecting on last year’s Unite the Right rally, the tragic public protest in response to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA, and the removal of our own Lee and Stonewall Jackson busts at the Hall of Fame, there is a greater urgency for us to pause at the tensions in American life that have been left unaddressed. 

For more information on this topic visit the Archives online exhibit: “Visions of Greatness, Rethinking Racial Disparities at the Hall of Fame” https://bcchalloffame.commons.gc.cuny.edu/

This program is funded in part by Humanities New York with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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