Art in the public realm fuels community pride, establishes a distinctive sense of place, and supports economic development. The impact of the arts goes beyond cultural and aesthetic enhancements. Indeed, it is playing a vital role in the revitalization of downtown disricts all over the country. Perhaps, most important public art is accessible.
The creation of the Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden is estimated as upward of $1.5 million. Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone sees the vision, and is endorsing the project by recommending Federal funding be set aside for this purpose. Numerous proposals have also been set afloat. However, the full support of the community-at-large: county wide, statewide, and countrywide is required. Thus, a call goes out to each of you who belongs to a fraternity, a sorority, other civic organizations, a church, challenging you to go to your respective groups and beseech them to become a link in the chain of community outreach, to sponsor and advocate for fund raising for this project.
The Yonkers African-American Heritage Committee is managing in-kind services and administering the grant(s) for the Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden / Phase I: the creation of the maquettes. Their mission is to "improve the quality of life for citizens of the City of Yonkers and its environs–with particular emphasis on the African-American community–and to focus on the strengths and contributions of members of the African-American community-at-large."
Entergy has awarded the first grant to create the maquettes for the Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden. Artist Vinnie Bagwell may often be found sculpting, with an audience, on the roof-top garden at 66main, where Metro Partners LLC, a local developer, is providing studio space for the artist to work as an in-kind service. MQuotient designed the web property, and Citibank is sponsoring the printing of the press kit. Westchester Stamps has provided in-kind service in the making of the maquettes. iPark will be providing invaluable, in-kind architectural-landscape design, consultant, and construction support.
ArtsWestchester is the leading advocate for public art in Westchester County, New York. They recognize the considerable benefits communities derive from public art projects, and they are the fiscal administrator for Phase II of the Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden public art project: enlargement and installation. ArtsWestcheter is one of the most respected arts organizations in the country. Founded in 1965, ArtsWestchester is the largest, private, not-for-profit arts council in New York State. Its mission is to provide leadership, vision, and support to ensure the availability, accessibility, and diversity of the arts. ArtsWestcheter distributes over $1 million in grants to artists and arts organizations, and provides programs and services that enrich the lives of everyone in Westchester. Their grants help fund concerts, exhibitions, and plays; they bring artists into schools and community centers; they are the premiere marketer of the arts in Westchester.
The Enslaved Africans' Rain Garden will serve as a forum to engage the community-at-large to preserve the memory of enslaved Africans and spread concern for all of humanity. It is hoped that visitors of this special place will be able to leave with the ability to appreciate and affirm the strength and beauty of ethnic and cultural pluralism, and now–more than ever–feel a sense of responsibility for the future of liberty and freedom for people of all colors.
Help bring the vision to life.