Arts & Culture

Statues, Memorials, Monuments, Art Everywhere

More memorials, monuments, statues and public art may be in store for the North End / Waterfront area. There are currently two major statues in the neighborhood including the equestrian sculpture of Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin in the Prado and Christopher Columbus at the waterfront park. The Massachusetts Beirut Memorial is also located at Christopher Columbus Park. (Local tip to impress your friends: stand in the center of the circular Beirut Memorial, speak loudly and listen for an interesting echo).

Below is a rundown of some of the proposals being discussed in the North End / Waterfront area:

Artist Gillian Christy submitted this concept for a North Square Immigration Memorial. (No design has been selected yet.)

A North End Immigrant Memorial is being pursued by the St. Joseph’s Society for North Square. With support from the Browne Fund, the group is working with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and the Boston Art Commission. The society has solicited several artists for proposals. One of the sculptors, Gillian Christy, has displayed her concept on a website for a North End Immigrant Memorial. The finalist in this process was Ernesto Montenegro. However, society members said they have not selected any design yet and will approach the community in the future. As part of its efforts, the society held several cultural unity events as part of its annual feast celebration.

Tony DeMarco Statue Fundraiser Poster

Tony DeMarco Statue – Proposed by the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame – New England Chapter. The Flame & Fury of Fleet Street and former welterweight boxing champion has just released a new book with his memoirs. (See Tony DeMarco Receives Italian-American Award and Releases Memoirs at 2011 Fisherman’s Feast). A fundraiser is scheduled this fall to raise money for a commissioned statue in the North End.

Public Art at Christopher Columbus Park – A new initiative was announced this year by the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park to install an art sculpture in the circle area on the Marriott side of the park. Several members have already started working on this project and look forward to bringing more information to officials and the neighborhood in the near future.

Monument to Sacco & Vanzetti – The Sacco and Vanzetti Commemoration Society seeks to establish a monument in the North End to honor the two Italian immigrants and avowed anarchists, who were convicted in 1923 and executed in 1927 for a pair of murders during an armed robbery in Braintree, although their alibis placed them far from the robbery.

This relief of Sacco & Vanzetti hangs in Copley’s Boston Public Library.

This relief of Sacco & Vanzetti hangs in Copley’s Boston Public Library. In 2007, a plaque was reinstalled at 256 Hanover Street, the place where the Sacco and Vanzetti Defense Committee functioned from 1925 to 1927. (See this 1999 Globe article on the proposed memorial where a location at DeFilippo Park is mentioned.)

Fisherman’s Memorial – A plaque or structure is being pursued by the Society of Madonna del Soccorso di Sciacca on the harbor side of Christopher Columbus Park, the site of the former T Wharf. The society hosts an annual blessing of the fishing waters at Christopher Columbus Park as part of the Fisherman’s Feast.

Public Art on the Greenway Parks

Public Art on the Greenway – The Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy has begun research and planning for additional public art throughout the Greenway parks. To date, most installations have been toward Rowes Wharf and points south. (See Public Art is a New Focus for the Greenway.) Also on the Greenway, the Armenian Heritage Memorial Park is under construction with an expected completion date in mid-2012.

Art on the Paul Revere Mall – The Prado is due to be refurbished in the coming years (See our previous post: NEWRA Parks Committee Focuses on the Prado). In addition to simply fixing it up, local artist Nate Swain has discussed adding some art installations on the blank brick walls.

Memorial on Paul Revere Mall, Prado, for Patrolman Andrew Cuneo, the 1st Italian-American Boston Police killed in the line of duty in 1921. (See Memorial Dedication on Prado for Patrolman Andrew B. Cuneo, 1st Italian American Boston Police Officer Killed in the Line of Duty.)

Do you know of other proposals that are not mentioned above? If so, please let us know in the comment section below.

12 Replies to “Statues, Memorials, Monuments, Art Everywhere

  1. The Fisherman's society should talk to the people in the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park. The Tony DeMarco statue should probably be in North Square near where he grew up. Sacco and Vanzetti have a plaque on Hanover Street. We do not need a monument to them in a very crowded and soon to be renovated well used neighborhood park. The immigrant memorial is a nice idea but so far the proposal by that artist leaves much to be desired The St Josephs .Society, the Tony DeMarco people and everyone else should get neighborhood input BEFORE they go too far. Nate Swain needs to find another neighborhood for his "art". The NSTAR Building and the wall in St. Leonards Peace Garden look nice but are enough now. Not evey blank space in the neighborhood needs to be covered with someone's artwork. The NEWRA Parks committee needs to coordinate with the existing Friends of the Prado group, the White Foundation, the Parks Dept on what should and CAN be done in the Prado. Perhaps the St Joseph's Immigrant memorial could be located in the Prado somewhere.

  2. It's about time there be recognition to Italian immigrants that came and made their lives in the North End.

  3. It is my understanding that the St. Joseph's Society's proposed Immigrant Memorial is supposed to honor ALL immigrants who made the North End their home… the British who first settled here,, the chinese, Irish, Jewish, and lastly the Italians.. it is .not just a memorial to the Italian immigrants..

  4. It's easy to get numb to these memorials when they get to be too many. Yes, the North End is a natural place for an immigration monument.

  5. I do not think I could oppose the North Square statue idea more. I don't oppose the concept of an immigrant memorial in general, but I like the square as it is with the old chains, the tulip garden, the sweet little trees, etc. It has an old world feel and its quaint, no need to modernize, in my opinion. As a North Square resident, we fight through tourist traffic on our streets enough as it is, we do not need yet another reason to draw a crowd. And the tables and chairs in the mock-up image?! Please no!

  6. @North Square resident…the ugly statue mock up with tables and chairs is just one artists idea of what the monument should be and hopefully a better concept will emerge. We can all voice our opinions on this blog but the only real way to be heard is if we show up at the meetings that hopefully will be held before any deal is done. At the end of the day, I think a statue in North Square will happen. The question is will it be the immigrant memorial, the Tony Demarco statue or some other memorial that someone is planning that we haven;t even heard of yet. Our responsibility as residents of the North end will be to make sure it is tasteful, fits in with or compliments its surroundings and is completed in a timely manner and as specified in the plans.

  7. @Joyce S Thanks for clearing up some of my confusion. As long as it keeps to the old world feel of the square and they don't change the look of it completely, I'll be happy. I will try to make it to a meeting if there is one.

  8. The proposed immigrant monument reproduces gender hierarchies that have hurt women from time immemorial. At top, directing his family, is the pater familias. Below are the women and children. How's about a memorial that recognizes the equal contributions of immigrant women to resettling and caring for famlies in a new and often hostile environment?

  9. People should recognize the immigrant memorial image shown is not the final design. When there is a meeting, interested people should attend to discuss potential issues.

  10. I just want to clarify that I am not proposing "Art" on the Prado. I am proposing collecting old (30 years or older) photographs from current and former residents of the North End. I want to have boards made up and installed in the blank squares on the walls to show and remind everyone what the neighborhood was like long ago. It would be a North End Historical Memorial.

  11. The Prado is a park! It already has a beautiful historical monument, the Cyrus Dallon Paul Revere Equestrian large scale sculpture. Adding more photographs, no matter how old will do nothing more to add to that beautiful space. In fact it will do just the opposite by adding visual clutter.

    What needs to be done is simple, repair, restore and maintain as needed the brick walkways, fountains etc. At the most, perhaps add some espalier plantings on the inset sections of the brick wall. That is all. It is beautiful park and the testament to its importance to the community is that it is used so much and by so many people; for music programs, as a quiet respite from Hanover Street, as a gateway to the Old North Church and Copps Hill cemetery. No "decorations" please!

  12. @Nate… Forget semantics. The point is that NOT EVERY EMPTY SURFACE needs to be covered with fake vines, fake household scenes, or old photos on modern day contact paper. Corrine c is dead on with her point that the Prado is a park that needs to be repaired. restored and maintained and not embellished. Aren't there some building facades in Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Southie, Charlestown, Mission Hill, Allston, Brighton, Bay Village, the leather district, Chinatown etc that could use a little sprucing up?

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