Replacing the Stephen Foster Statue

For this final project, I had intended to create an event, further collecting opinions on what should replace the Stephen Foster statue. However, while working on it, a city committee made official the proposal to replace the statue with an influential African-American woman from Pittsburgh’s history. Throughout this process I have changed my role from facilitator, to archivist, to now promoter. Learning from the past experiences with my own project I knew that physical signage by the statue elicited much more response than online intervention. Being that the committee’s only source of community outreach was an online poll to vote for one of the seven proposed women, I decided to use what I had learned to further their proposal. I created nine signs that were placed around the statue. Two were placed at the path entrances, reciting the introduction from the online survey, explaining the proposal and prompting people to vote. The other seven showed each of the women, including their description from the site, along with a portrait, to give a face to these amazing candidates.

Due to the rough weather, I had to return to repair them and in that time saw over 20 people stop to read the signs, help repair cracks with whatever they could find, and the mayor as well as his aid, offering to provide cement buckets to keep the signs better planted. The committee was also informed of my actions after and I was connected to the CEO’s and managers of the project.

I will most likely redesign a few of the components to help them be more resilient but I am very pleased with this project, as in the end I was able to actually initiate community response and be a part of a real project that reached out beyond the parameters of the crit space. This entire semester’s projects have taught me the exact lessons I needed, in order to create this last iteration.

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