GREAT BARRINGTON — The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project has launched a formal search for a sculptor to create a likeness of the scholar and civil-rights leader. The seated statue will be situated on a bench placed in front of Great Barrington’s Mason Public Library.
The request for proposal has been uploaded to the project’s website (webduboissculpture.org) and to the website of the National Sculpture Society, as well as to several other websites artists visit to apply for juried shows and competitions. Proposals are due by Feb. 1, 2023.
“Our goal is to reach as many qualified sculptors as we can,” said Lauren Clark, who is heading the search committee. Clark is owner of Lauren Clark Fine Art Gallery in Great Barrington and is on the board of trustees of the Great Barrington Libraries, as well as a board member of the Du Bois Sculpture Project. Members of the search committee/art jury include Clark, Delano Burrows, Bobby Houston, Reginald Madison, and Ari Zorn. The group has budgeted $180,000 for the creation and casting of the sculpture.
W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963), born and educated in Great Barrington, was the first African-American to earn a PhD from Harvard; he achieved world fame as a sociologist, historian, and founder of the NAACP. A prolific author and advocate for the full integration of Blacks into American society, his collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, is a seminal work in African-American literature.
The W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project was launched in May with the goal of recognizing Du Bois’s scholarly achievements in the fight for racial equality. It will also celebrate Great Barrington, a town whose long abolitionist history and powerful commitment to public education helped shape the person Du Bois became.
To date, the Sculpture Project has received grants from the Hughes Foundation, the Jane & Jack Fitzpatrick Trust, Berkshire Bank, and multiple private donors. “We have found great enthusiasm for this undertaking from many community organizations and from locals who feel the time has come to recognize Du Bois,” said Julie Michaels, chair of the Sculpture Project.
The group is also raising funds to repair the library staircase and position marble benches to either side of the stairs. For more information, or to donate, visit webduboissculpture.org.