|'Harriet Rising' Alice Lovelace & Lisa Tuttle|
The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs' recent public art project, Harriet Rising, was selected as part of the 2012 Americans for the Art Public Art Network Year in Review, presented at the 2012 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Preconference, June 7-8, in San Antonio, TX. This outstanding temporary project was selected from more than 400 project submissions by the 2012 Year in Review curators Jean Greer, Daniel Mihalyo, and Celia Munoz.
Writer, performer, and activist Alice Lovelace worked with artist Lisa Tuttle to create a collaborative temporary public art installation for the launch of Elevate/Art Above Underground, an exhibition presented by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program and Underground Atlanta.
Presently, the Civil War Sesquicentennial is being recognized during four years with ceremonies, books, recordings, films, lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and encampments. One of the heroes of the Civil War is Harriett Tubman, a heroic woman who walked away from the system of slavery that reduced her to property. Tubman returned to the South to rescue other slaves, more than 70 people that she escorted to safety and hundreds she taught how to escape to freedom in the North.
Although originally intended as temporary for the festival last summer, the artwork is still up for viewing. The award-winning project Harriet Rising is sited in Atlanta and composed of eight columns that run along Upper Alabama Street. The four sides of each column display photographs, poetry, and text printed on pressure sensitive vinyl, applied to aluminum painted columns.
The columns contain the following imagery: an image of Harriet Tubman with text of her history and accomplishments. The second panel includes a photograph of a woman representing the Atlanta partner organization, Underground Railroad. Each woman depicted is dressed in white in response to a recurring dream that Tubman dreamt in the years before her escape in which she was flying over fields, towns, rivers, and mountains, looking down upon them "like a bird":
It "'peared like I wouldn’t have the strength, and just as I was sinkin’ down, there would be ladies all drest in white over there, and they would put out their arms and pull me ‘cross." -- Harriet Tubman from The Moses of Her People, by Sarah Bradford (1886).
The third panel recites an original poem about the Underground Railroad’s mission, addressed to Tubman, by Lovelace. The final panel describes the organization’s mission, accomplishments, and website. The City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs and artists are to be commended for creating an outstanding project at a remarkably low budget of $5,500!
Be sure to check out Harriet Rising and the other award-winning projects included on the Year in Review CD Rom, available in the Americans for the Arts Store. Click here for a complete list of all 50 awarded projects.