Coline Jenkins, a great-great-granddaughter of the famed American suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, is on a mission to overthrow the “bronze patriarchy” in New York City’s famed Central Park. Of the 22 statues of historical figures in Central Park, all are men and some of them are rather obscure (unless you have heard of the Dutch sculptor Albert Bertel Thorvaldsen, or 14th century Polish King Jagiello). Since the 1950s, no new permanent statues have been added to the park, and ideas of statues for women as Brooke Astor or Princess Diana never moved beyond the discussion phase. Wanting to correct the gender imbalance, Myriam Miedzian, a former philosophy professor living on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, assembled a committee of fundraisers and drew up a list of women who deserve a statue in the country’s most famous park. They eventually settled on a dual tribute to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, pioneers of the women’s suffrage movement. She enlisted the help of Stanton’s granddaughter, and thanks to their combined efforts, the parks department granted conceptual approval in May, to erect a statue dedicated to Stanton and Anthony at the West 77th Street entrance to Central Park.The department requires a $400,000 to $1 million endowment to cover construction, installation and upkeep. While fundraising and a design competition for the statue are the next phase in realizing her vision, Jenkins is sure of one thing: the statue won’t be an oversized figure on a grand pedestal: “That’s old-fashioned,” she said. “Today we think: Come on down off the horse. Be equals.”
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