The long overdue Bill Russell statue now has an official home. Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino announced this morning in a press conference that Russell’s statue will be located near Congress Street in City Hall Plaza when it is unveiled in 2012. Laura Nelson of Boston.com gets us up to date on the developments surrounding the statue:
Three artists will be competing for the right to design the statute for Russell, who was one of the Celtics’ all-time great players and a widely respected civil rights activist.
The artists are Fern Cunningham, Ann Hirsch, and Antonio Tobias Mendez.
The winning design will be unveiled in spring 2012. Menino, who has pushed to relocate City Hall to South Boston, said renovations will be made to the plaza to coincide with the statue’s installation.
Officials said the Russell statue will be installed on the south side of City Hall Plaza near Congress Street, a spot located about 10 yards north of the doorway to the Planet Fitness facility on the plaza.
Celtics co-owner Stephen Pagliuca said Russell was a role model for the young, and a mentor as well.
“He always found the time to take a youngster aside,’’ he said. “He was an individual who went out of his way to work with young children.”
Private fund-raising continues through the summer and public fund-raising starts this fall, when a winning design from one of the three artists is selected.
Paul Flannery of WEEI.com who did terrific work last year with his Boston Magazine article in bringing the Russell statue issue the rightful attention it deserved, has more on the three artists who may design the statue:
Cunningham designed the Harriet Tubman memorial at Harriet Tubman Park in the South End. It’s said to be the first statue on city-owned property honoring a woman.
Hirsch’s work includes a nine-sculpture gothic/human installation called “Watchers.”
Mendez designed the Red Sox “Teammates” statue — profiling 1940s-era legends Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and Bobby Doerr — that stands outside of Gate B at Fenway Park.
Video of the event from Chris Forsberg at ESPNBoston.com