News Release – City Celebrates Legacy of Frederick Douglass with Statue Restoration

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, April 10, 2023) – In continued celebration of Frederick Douglass’ legacy, the City of Rochester has acquired 10 of the Frederick Douglass statues originally created for the “Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass” Bicentennial Commemoration in 2018.

The statues will be temporarily removed to undergo repair and restoration before returning to the community in new indoor locations where they will be protected from the elements and continue to bring life to Douglass’ legacy for years to come.

“Frederick Douglass is integral to the fabric of Rochester and these statues have become beloved landmarks in our community beyond the moment in time they were designed to celebrate,” said Mayor Malik D. Evans. “We look forward to returning these statues to their original grandeur so that they can continue to inspire and educate.”

Rochester artist Olivia Kim, who first created the statues, will undertake the repair of the epoxy resin creations, which reflect wear from having been on display outdoors for nearly five years, two years longer than initially planned.

The timeline for repairs will be determined after the statues have been taken to a temporary indoor storage area for a comprehensive assessment. Once complete, the statues will return to public display in new indoor locations including Rochester City Hall, the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, and the Aqueduct Building, nearby where Frederick Douglass produced The North Star and The Frederick Douglass Newspaper.

Thirteen statues were part of the “Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass" project, a multi-organization initiative spearheaded by Rochester Community Television (RCTV) and Rochester Contemporary Art Center. The City of Rochester purchased its 10 statues from RCTV. The remaining three statues are in the care of RCTV, Rochester Educational Opportunity Center, and the University of Rochester. A fourteenth statue was privately commissioned and remains in private ownership.

“We will update the community when we have more information on when the Frederick Douglass statues will be installed in their new locations,” said Barbara Pierce, City of Rochester Director of Communications. “It will be moment to celebrate for us all.”



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