Curators reported that the statue of Christopher Columbus from the namesake park can be repaired, but cannot be fully restored to its original state. The news was released at a meeting of the Boston Arts Commission (BAC) on September 8th. The statue’s head was severed from the neck and would leave visible marks upon repair, according to the restoration experts. The curators further said the statue would continue to be vulnerable to further vandalism and the next time could cause greater damage.
On June 10th, the Christopher Columbus statue was beheaded, adding to its existing history of vandalism throughout the years. The rest of the body was subsequently removed by the City and placed in storage to await further public discussion about its future.
This is the second meeting where presentations at the Boston Arts Commission have implied that a return of the statue to Christopher Columbus Park is increasingly uncertain. Last month, BAC hosted a review entitled, Confronting Colonial Myths in Boston’s Public Space. Commissioners are following a process similar to that used for the Emancipation Group, which resulted in a unanimous vote to remove that work from Park Square.
In testimony at the August 2020 meeting, some Italian-American groups spoke in support of the statue’s restoration while others favored non-Columbus alternatives to represent Italian heritage. Proponents for the statue’s permanent removal pointed to Columbus as a symbol of white supremacy and urged that the voices of the indigenous people be elevated in the public review process.
BAC said the name of the park falls under the Boston Parks Department and they would not be taking up that issue.