Home Arts Nine US cities receive grants totaling $25 million to develop more diverse landmarks

Nine US cities receive grants totaling $25 million to develop more diverse landmarks

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As cultural dialogues about the role public sculptures play and the often one-sided narratives they portray continue to evolve across the United States, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has announced the next steps for its ongoing Monuments Project. , a grant of $250 million over five years. initiative that hopes to fund public works of art across the country that “more fully and accurately represent the multiplicity and complexity of American histories,” according to the foundation.

Nine grants totaling $25 million will be awarded directly to municipalities across the country this summer in the name of the Monuments Project, bringing the total funds awarded so far to nearly $152 million, more than half the total of $250 million to be spread over the life of the project. -scope. This summer, funds will be awarded to support projects throughout Asheville, North Carolina; Boston; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Denver; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island and San Francisco. This brings the total number of beneficiaries to date to 67.

“Our story is the story of many different people living in glorious complexity, but we have only learned one side of that story,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation. The arts journal in 2020, when the initial concept of the grant was first announced. “I joined the foundation after many years of teaching African-American literature and culture – always grounded in historical context – and have long thought about our memorial landscape in that same context.”

In 2020 alone, more than 160 Confederate monuments have been removed from public space nationwide, while more than a hundred other monuments and memorials perceived to celebrate white supremacy were demolished the same year, either toppled by protesters or removed by city officials. Many of them were relocated by their respective local governments to museums or storage spaces, and a dialogue continued about what to do with the empty pedestals and vacant public space where they stood. in the past.

The first grant awarded under the Monuments Project was a three-year, $4 million allocation to support the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Monument Lab, which said it will spend the grant money on “a definitive audit of the nation’s landmarks,” in addition to expanding its research offices and hiring its first full-time staff. Public works funded by grants can also be seen in Juneau, Alaskain a series of totem poles that include part of the audience Kootéeya Deiyí (Totem Pole Trail) along the downtown waterfront.

Projects vary widely among the nine newly announced funded municipalities. Among new efforts, the City of Asheville will redevelop portions of its Pack Square Plaza to better represent the city’s multicultural history; while Portland, Oregon and Denver will use a portion of their funds to support community engagement and policy development regarding what to do with public monuments that were toppled or removed in 2020; and Los Angeles will use its funds to help build a Memorial to the victims of the Chinese massacre of 1871 which is rarely spoken about.

“There are few things more important than knowing our full story, including, and perhaps most importantly, when that story involves violent injustice, hidden out of sight,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. Angeles, in a statement. “The city is taking these steps to honor the victims of the 1871 Chinese Massacre to better understand our past and build a better future. This important chapter in our history, long clear to our neighbors of Chinese descent, will now be known and regarded by all Angelenos.

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