Several years ago, the Great Barrington Library Trustees approved the placement of a sculpture of W.E.B. Du Bois in front of the Mason Public Library. This memorial will celebrate the scholar’s achievements in the fight for racial equality and will represent how Great Barrington — with its long abolitionist history and powerful commitment to public education — helped shape the person Du Bois became.
A group of local citizens has taken on the project, forming the W.E.B. Du Bois Sculpture Project and developing specific plans to create, place, and maintain this lasting memorial.
In addition to the work the Du Bois Sculpture Project is doing to bring a bronze likeness of Du Bois to Main Street, there are other important projects happening to celebrate Black history and culture in the Berkshires.
The already existing Du Bois Center in Great Barrington, a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring the African American experience and issues regarding social justice through programs, events, and exhibitions of artifacts is relocating to the History Room at the Mason Library where the sculpture will be placed.
The Clinton Church Restoration, an African American Cultural Heritage Center, also in Gt Barrington, will be a resource for anyone looking to study Du Bois’s legacy. From their mission statement, “Clinton Church Restoration’s mission is to restore the historic Clinton A.M.E. Zion Church for adaptive reuse as a vibrant cultural heritage center that interprets the life and legacy of W.E.B. Du Bois, honors the historic role of the church, and celebrates the Berkshires’ rich African American heritage.”
Project Overview: The Call
The Du Bois Sculpture Project is accepting qualifications from sculptors working in figurative bronze to create what will be an integral part of a commemorative memorial intertwining history, art and landscape.
The selected finalist will be asked to create a permanent commemorative statue of a seated W.E.B. Du Bois in front of the Mason Library in Great Barrington. The completed project will be a space of reflection, education and memorialization of the work that scholar and abolitionist Du Bois accomplished in his lifetime.
Our Vision for the statue is a figurative, bronze sculpture of Du Bois in front of the library, seated on a curved bench made of local marble. This is a privately funded project supported by the community with fundraising well underway. The Sculpture Project will pay the casting and installation costs as separate from the chosen artist’s fee. We expect the Sculpture Project to be fully funded by end of year 2022.
This is an open call to sculptors based in the Northeastern United States. Proposals by artists who have demonstrated ability in executing likenesses in human form will be considered.