East Rosedale Public Art Project Installing Soon

East Rosedale Monument Project by Christopher Blay

(Monday, June 10, 2024) Fort Worth, Texas- Installing this month just in time for Juneteenth, artist Christopher Blay’s artwork East Rosedale Monument Project recognizes the role of transit buses in the civil rights movement from the 1950s through the 1970s and connects the struggle for equal rights and justice from a national narrative to a local one.

For East Rosedale Monument Project, the artist transformed a vintage transit bus into a public artwork as a way of talking about the history of buses in the civil rights movement and preserving that history. From the Montgomery bus boycotts and the Freedom Riders to the busing of students for integration, the transit bus has played a key role in the fight for justice and equality. Engraved panels within the bus shell focuses on these stories along with others who protested the policies of segregation and fought for justice and equality here in Fort Worth. This monument also engages with the conversation about national monuments and which stories get to be canonized in the public sphere.

Over the years many historic buildings have been lost in one of the oldest historic African American neighborhoods in America; however, Christopher Blay notes, “By placing this monument to the struggle for equality in full view of the city, and highlighting its connection to that very cause, we not only recognize the Evans neighborhood’s connection to that struggle, but also place a marker to where we’ve been, and where we are going.”

The sculpture will be installed in mid-June, with lighting and electrical components to follow. In connection with the public artwork, a poetry contest will be held in the neighborhood with the winning poem displayed on an electronic screen in the monument. The artwork was commissioned by the City of Fort Worth through the Fort Worth Public Art Program, which is managed by Arts Fort Worth. Fort Worth Public Art is a City of Fort Worth program created to enhance the visual environment, commemorate the city’s rich cultural and ethnic diversity, integrate artwork into the development of the City’s capital infrastructure improvements, and to promote tourism and economic vitality. For more information, please visit fwpublicart.org.

About the Artwork:

East Rosedale Monument Project by Christopher Blay

920 East Rosedale Street (at Veal Street)

Painted Steel and Stainless Steel

10’ tall x 7’6” wide x approximately 37’ long

About Christopher Blay:

Christopher Blay is an artist, writer, and curator. His most recent public art project “The SpLaVCe Program” received an award for sculpture in the 2023 ARTPRIZE fair in Grand Rapids, and his most recent exhibition, “Ritual SpLaVCe” was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Galveston Arts Center. Blay’s writing includes interviews and essays for Art in America on artists such as Jammie Holmes, Julie Speed, and David-Jeremiah. As the Chief Curator of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, Blay has presented several solo and group exhibitions of works by historical and contemporary African American artists. Blay is a 2003 graduate of Texas Christian University (BFA, Photography and Art History), and currently lives and works in Houston.

About Arts Fort Worth Founded in 1963 as the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, DBA Arts Fort Worth is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote, nurture, and support the arts in Fort Worth. Arts Fort Worth administers a competitive grants program, manages the Fort Worth Public Art program, and operates the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, a dynamic arts complex with theaters, galleries, studios, and office suites, on behalf of the City of Fort Worth. Arts Fort Worth also provides educational programming and supports arts advocacy at all levels of government, rents the facilities for a wide range of private and public events and programs. Arts Fort Worth is supported in part by the City of Fort Worth and the Texas Commission on the Arts. For more information, please visit artsfortworth.org


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