New Prospect: City unveils winning design for massive Shirley Chisholm Memorial in Prospect Park

Larger than life: Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous’ winning design for a Prospect Park memorial to honor Shirley Chisholm, the nation’s first black Congresswoman.
Department of Cultural Affairs

Municipal design gurus announced the winning design for a Prospect Park Memorial to Kings County Trailblazer Shirley Chisholm on Wednesday.

City design experts chose artistic duo Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous’s design due to its striking portrayal of the nation’s first black Congresswoman looming large over the US Capitol Building, according to city’s chief culture honcho said.

“Amanda Williams and Olalekan Jeyifous have put forward a fittingly bold vision for how to honor the remarkable Shirley Chisholm,” said city Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “Next year, New York City will have a new monument that is as multifaceted as Chisholm herself.“

The massive, 40-foot tall yellow and green image of the late, Brooklyn-born legislator will rise conspicuously above the Parkside Avenue entrance to Brooklyn’s backyard, which itself is being renovated as part of a larger $9.5 million project to improve the park’s perimeter along Ocean and Parkside avenues.

Department of Cultural Affairs

The winning team beat four other finalists for the opportunity to make a permanent mark on Prospect Park following an open call for artists announced in December, and — while the city gave locals four days to submit comments on the five design proposals in March — a closed panel of experts hailing from the Percent for Art program made the final call to go with Williams and Jeyifous.

But park patrons still have an opportunity to affect the memorial’s final design through local community boards, which will hear from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs in the coming months, although a spokesman for the agency could not immediately say which boards would get a vote, or when.

The She Built NYC initiative that spawned the Chisholm memorial project was created on the suggestion of the Mayoral Monuments Commission, which Mayor Bill de Blasio convened following the riots that plagued Charlottesville in 2017 amid a proposal by that city’s government to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Department of Cultural Affairs

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