Public Art: Commemorating Local Cambridge Activism ($125,000)

Committee: Community Resources

Cost: $125,000

Location: Riverside Press Park 

Short Description: Art honoring the 1971 action by Riverside neighborhood leaders including Black, Feminist, and LBTQ+ activists, who occupied the 888 Memorial Dr. building to demand affordable housing, slowing campus expansion & establishing a women’s center.

Long Description: 

This proposal aims to create a public art installation that celebrates the history of activism at Riverside Press Park in Cambridge and recognizes the diversity of race, gender, national origin, age, ability, and sexual orientation as a source of strength that makes Cambridge a vibrant city. We seek to fund an installation from an artist that recognizes this as a part of Cambridge's history as well as our present and future. This project would be installed just outside or within the Riverside Press Park (20-46 Blackstone Street), across from 888 Memorial Drive. 

This site holds historical significance as the location of the occupation of a Harvard building where, in 1971, by Black, Feminist, and LGBTQ+ organizers that fought for more affordable housing and the creation of the Women’s Center. The Arts Council will work collaboratively with other City departments and commissions to ensure that a variety of voices/perspectives are incorporated, including people from marginalized and underrepresented communities who contribute to the struggle for equity in our city. There is currently a small plaque in the vicinity of Riverside Press Park that mentions the occupation. However, as a paragon of the ways in which unity amongst everyday people can lead to monumental change, a more prominent and visible commemoration can demonstrate Cambridge’s values and set the example for current and future generations of activists that will continue the vision of an equitable society.


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