Two artists have been identified to create a “World Class Memorial” at Broderick Park. After a call for artists was issued back in March, artists James J. Cooper III (a Buffalo based visual artist) and Gino L. Morrow II (a Dallas-based designer, educator, who was born in Buffalo) have been selected as the duo who will fulfill the task, led by the City of Buffalo, a Community Committee that involved the Buffalo Arts Commission, along with the Department of Public Works, Parks and Streets, Buffalo Quarters Historical Society, The Friends of Broderick Park, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and other individuals committed to Buffalo’s Park system.
Artists James Cooper and Gino Morrow were chosen to create a sculpture and a mural, respectively.
The theme of the work, partially attributed to a public survey, is the Underground Railroad, which is suitingly an overarching theme at this particular waterfront location, known as a final stopping point along the road to freedom in Canada.
The sculpture and mural will center on a theme related to the Underground Railroad.
Mayor Brown stated, “As Broderick Park served as the point where escaped slaves crossed the Niagara River to get to freedom in Canada, this place is of great importance to the cause of liberty and the rights of each human to live without being in bondage. I am pleased that two wonderful works of contemporary art will highlight this sacred space.”
Chair of the Arts Commission, Catherine Gillespie, reflected that, “Our community, especially on the West side, has worked hard to make Broderick Park a showcase to commemorate the Underground Railroad and Buffalo’s part in it. These two talented artists, with local ties to Buffalo, are going to add a wonderful dimension to the park. Thanks to Mayor Brown, this will be the biggest public art project in the city.”
The artwork was made possible by a $400,000 Capital Bond that Mayor Brown suggested and advocated for as a way to further honor the Underground Railroad at Broderick Park.
“The goal of Buffalo Quarters Historical Society has always been and continues to work to have stories that humanizes our ancestors and the people of whom are left to carry out the good works they started. Liberation and freedom are what they wanted for us. To that end, art is a place where individual expressions and interpretations are welcomed. We are ever so grateful to Mayor Byron W. Brown II for valuing the wishes of the community to ensure that this project will come to fruition in 2022. And finally, we are grateful to artists James J. Cooper III and Gino L. Morrow II who provided artistic interpretations of the ancestral messages that we need to take heed of and continue to live up to our fullest potentials; we matter, and our stories and achievements matter,” stated Dr. Virginia A. Batchelor.
The artwork builds on an $11 million investment in the park that resulted in major improvements, including a new amphitheater and concession stand