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An update on the removal of 'Emancipation Group'

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Arts and Culture

This letter to the community was written by the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission.

Dear colleagues and community partners,

In keeping with the Boston Art Commission’s June 30 vote, "Emancipation Group" is scheduled to be moved by the end of 2020, pending weather and contractor availability. While we continue research and outreach to determine a new location for the statue, it will be placed in temporary storage. We’re now seeking ideas and comments on a new location for "Emancipation Group", and the future of the site. You can submit written or video feedback, or send an illustration of your ideas.

Through the public engagement process this summer, we heard public testimonials during two hearings, and received more than 160 letters and 645 survey responses. A petition by Boston artist Tory Bullock also gained more than 12,000 signatures to remove the statue. On June 30, 2020, after five hours of verbal testimony and discussion, the Boston Art Commission voted unanimously to document and remove "Emancipation Group", starting a process to relocate it to a new publicly accessible location where it could be better explained. The decision for removal acknowledged the statue’s role in perpetuating harmful prejudices and obscuring the role of Black Americans in shaping the nation’s freedoms. 

As we prepare for this move and continue the public conversation, we invite you to share your vision for the future of Boston’s public art and cultural storytelling. Starting this winter, the City of Boston and Boston Art Commission will begin a series of virtual panel discussions and short-term art installations examining and reimagining our cultural symbols, public art, and histories. 

We encourage you to sign up for our newsletters if you haven’t already to receive regular updates on these projects. More information will also be posted on boston.gov/public-art as it becomes available.

Please share with anyone who may be interested and reach out with any questions! 

Thanks,

Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture and the Boston Art Commission

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