Protests are planned for this summer over the removal of one of Boston’s more controversial pieces of public art, the Christopher Columbus statue at the waterfront in the North End, despite mixed feelings from the community.
Acting Mayor of Boston Kim Janey announced the city’s new “Joy Agenda” plan in May, an initiative that includes public art to heal the city after its tumultuous experience dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and the unrest resulting from the murder of George Floyd.
Two local artists are taking a new approach to solving to the problem of controversial public art. Elizabeth James Perry, a local artist and member of the Wampanoag tribe, and Ekua Holmes, a Black artist from the Roxbury, are creating plant installations on the Museum of Fine Art’s Huntington Avenue grounds, which are home to Cyrus Dallin’s statue “Appeal to the Great Spirit.”
Many public artists find that their work can break down barriers and improve the lives of people within a community.