Susan B. Anthony statue headed for Adams in time for suffragette's 200th birthday
This story has been modified to correct the last name of Bill Kolis Jr.
ADAMS — Susan B. Anthony is expected to arrive by August 2020.
She will be 8 feet tall and made of cast bronze. And her younger self, a child of about 6 years old, will also be there.
Both will be part of a statue, commissioned by the Adams Suffrage Centennial Committee, to be located at the Town Commons across the street from Big Y, not far from the gazebo.
The finished product and surroundings — including benches — will wind up as a place of contemplation, according to Bill Kolis Jr., a member of the Adams Suffrage Centennial Committee's statue subcommittee.
"It's meant to be a place where you can go and think," he said. "It will also be well within walking distance of BART and [Hoosac Valley Elementary School]."
The contract for the statue has already been signed with sculptor Brian Hanlon, who will depict Anthony as she delivered the "Declaration of the Rights of the Women of the United States" standing outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1876.
Anthony was born in Adams on Feb. 15, 1820, to Daniel Anthony and Lucy Read. The family left town when she was 6, but she has been cherished as a local daughter ever since she championed efforts to grant women the right to vote. She also advocated against slavery, for workers' rights, and against child labor.
Her birthplace at 67 East Road was eventually converted into the Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum in in mid-2000s.
There will be a nationwide effort to fete Anthony in 2020, which is the 200th anniversary of her birth, and the 100th anniversary of the Aug. 18, 1920, passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote, 14 years after Anthony's death.
The statue is planned to be unveiled as a part of those celebration, which will begin locally with Anthony's 200th birthday in February 2020 and continue through Aug. 18, 2020.
"This will be a product of passion, art and history," Kolis said. "I think the results will be fantastic."
The concept, according to the proposal submitted by Hanlon, is a bronze sculpture of the adult Anthony orating with speech in hand. The 8-foot statue will stand on a granite base consisting of three steps in front and a panel behind the figure rising up half the height of the statue. The base will be 2 feet tall and measure roughly 5 feet by 4 feet.
Both sides of the base would feature relief images from Anthony's life. The steps would be engraved with quotes and the rear panel would feature the words "Susan B. Anthony" and an image of her profile. The statue of young Susan reading a book would also be cast in bronze to a height proportionally accurate to the size of the adult figure.
To pay for the statue — estimated at $130,000 — and the landscaping and lighting, along with organizing the six-month town celebration, the statue subcommittee has set up a fundraising website. The group already has raised more than $80,000 toward its $300,000 goal.
Ultimately, by including the statue at the Commons, and sprucing up the small park at the same time, Solis sees it as another step in the economic evolution of Adams into a cultural economy.
Richard Tavelli, a member of the Adams Arts Advisory Board, agrees with that assessment.
"It's already happening in Williamstown and North Adams," he said. "But now they're coming this way. So the plan is to continue to attract artists and creative people to town, a trend that has already begun."
Scott Stafford can be reached at email@example.com or 413-629-4517.
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