Michigan City group selects artist for permanent art sculpture

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Community News & People in the News

Published on July 03, 2021 with No Comments

Michigan City Mainstreet Association has named nationally acclaimed sculptor Bernard Williams, as the artist commissioned to create a public sculpture of African American suffragist Naomi Anderson as part of its “Celebrating Naomi Anderson” project.

The “Celebrating Naomi Anderson” project celebrates the life and legacy of Anderson as an early suffragist and human rights champion, author and orator whose impact extended across America. A native of Michigan City, born in 1843, she appeared frequently with women’s rights leaders such as Susan B. Anthony. Anderson died in 1899 in California. 

The project received support from a Preserving Women’s Legacy Grant, a program of the Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial, presented by Indiana Humanities and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. Project partners include NAACP of La Porte County Unit 3061, Lubeznik Center for the Arts and Unity Foundation of La Porte County.

Sculptor Bernard Williams is known for large works that emerge out of documents from libraries and archives. He searches for intriguing hidden narratives and symbols that place their subjects in larger, frequently turbulent historical framework. Williams’ major sculptures can be seen in Chicago, Dallas and Indianapolis. He has served on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago. Williams maintains a studio in La Porte.

“I want people to see many elements of the achievements of Ms. Naomi Anderson and become inspired by her worthiness, intelligence and persistence in this struggle, which was a turning point for women and humanity. Many recognizable elements in this work, including figures of suffragists, people, signs, words, and arts and cultural items can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages,” said Williams. “Even my use of steel will be a metaphor for the right to vote. In the 70-year struggle, women were jailed. They had to be made of steel!” 

“Our hope is that this highly visible work will convey messages of hope, success and the human potential for good to everyone who encounters it,” said Michigan City Mainstreet Association President Arturo Pozos.

Williams was chosen from 12 artists. The sculpture, yet to be named, will be unveiled at Michigan City’s Charles R. Westcott Park this fall.

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