Sculpture on City Hall Plaza will honor Boston Celtics legend and human rights activist Bill Russell
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The project calls for the creation of a sculpture on Boston City Hall Plaza to represent Bill Russell the athlete, coach, human rights activist, ground breaker and mentor.
“Mr. Russell’s legacy is important to the story of this city in sports and also in terms of human rights,” Ann Hirsch, who lives in Somerville, Mass., said in a statement from the Boston Art Commission. “I am proud and humbled to be chosen to create this artwork and look forward to its unveiling in the near future.”
In her work as a sculptor, Hirsch integrates figurative and architectural components by drawing on time-honored approaches, integrating historical modalities with contemporary practices and perspectives. Hirsch’s work is grounded in the body, movement and traditional sculpture technique. Her work is driven by a strong interest in 'theater' as public presentation and the meaningful organization of symbol, figure and space.
Working with Hirsch will be Bill Pressley of Pressley Associates, a landscape architect who has twice received National Landscape Awards at the White House. The first was for his work at Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the second was for his work at Northeastern University over a period of 28 years.
“I am pleased that Ann Hirsch has joined our 'team' as the artist for the Bill Russell tribute. Ann’s concept for the site, together with the mentoring program established in Bill’s name, will ensure that we’re creating something special, as a champion such as Bill Russell deserves,” Mayor Thomas Menino said in the Art Commission statement.
In addition to erecting the statue of Russell, the Bill Russell Legacy Project, along with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, developed a Mentoring Grant program in Russell’s name to ensure his passion for mentoring children is carried on.
“I am especially thrilled that I will be able to work as a mentor myself by involving local children in my process through the Shamrock Foundation,” Hirsch said.
Russell’s statue will be completed in two phases. The sculpture will represent Bill Russell the whole man, honoring him as an athlete, coach, human rights activist, groundbreaker and mentor. It will be slightly larger than life size. Russell will be on a low plinth in game action about to make a pass. Ten other plinths will surround Russell, for a total of 11 objects representing Mr. Russell’s 11 championships with the Boston Celtics. Each plinth will feature a key word and a corresponding quotation to illuminate the myriad of accomplishments spanning Mr. Russell’s entire career both on and off the court.
To learn more about the Bill Russell Legacy Project and to donate to the Legacy Fund, please visit www.billrusselllegacy.org.
Ann Hirsch earned a B.A. in Art History at Columbia University and Master's degrees from N.Y.U. and the New York Academy of Art. She shows in New York and Massachusetts. Learn more at her website, www.annhirschstudio.com.
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