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Great Barrington moving forward with Du Bois statue

Jan 24, 2022 6:00 am

Felix Carroll is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle an independent group of Great Barrington residents are looking to revive a yearslong initiative to honor native son, W.E.B. Du Bois. The focal point of the effort would be a life-size bronze sculpture of scholar, writer and champion of civil rights and economic justice Du Bois (1868-1963), who was born and raised in Great Barrington. The statue would be part of a larger plaza on the front yard of the Mason Library, on Main Street. The plaza would be crafted from native marble. The library Board of Trustees again approved the location and concept on January 18. The board originally approved a similar measure in 2018. Before the project can move forward, it must be approved by the Historic District Commission, but the commission’s January 20 meeting was canceled. Because the library is town-owned, the Select Board would also have to approve accepting the statue and plaza as a gift. The Du Bois Sculpture and Education Project, as it is known, would not be financed by local taxpayer money. The library Board of Trustees appointed Trustee Lauren Clark, a downtown art gallery owner, to serve as liaison to the citizen group spearheading the project. The Du Bois Sculpture and Education Project estimates it will need to raise $350,000 for the project. It will do so through donations and foundation grants. In preparation for its meeting with the Historic District Commission, the project group has secured an architect’s renderings for the proposed plaza and bench. “In conceptualizing the sculpture, we have chosen to create a scholarly Du Bois, hands-on a favorite book, seated on a bench that arches out from the current outdoor staircase,” said Julie Michaels, chair of the group, explained in a statement. “This will create a gathering space for the town. ..." Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.

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