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Rosa Parks Circle


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Personally, I'm excited to see more public art but don't think so much emphasis should be placed on Rosa Parks. When the debate over naming Maya Lin's park after Rosa Parks happened, Rosa Parks remembered going to Grand Rapids several times, including a shopping trip to Rogers Plaza. Other than that, there is no local history. As Chris Knape wrote, I'd rather see a statue of someone of local importance, or someone local who made an impact. Like Dr. Emmett Boldens. But like I said, I'm all for more sculptures downtown. I hope this one is more on the scale of the Vandenberg sculpture than Lucius Lyon.

I wonder what Maya Lin thinks of this. I know that she was against naming the park after someone, and she has some kind of approval rights to what is placed in the park. Maybe she's moved onto other things and doesn't care.


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The comments I find puzzling are the ones implying that a statue will bring folks to the city. (Can we borrow Detroit's Thinker again? How about The Fist?) And the ones playing the race card in response to those suggesting that the expenditures be re-prioritized.

Quoting myself,

Instead of a statue, how about a signboard? Either at the designated location, or above the stage.

While I am all in favor of public art ..., it seems that a better way to educate folks about Mrs Parks would be with an installation similar to the one by the Civil War Dude. Walk a couple blocks east and check it out.

Presently the largest public notice that this is Rosa Parks Circle are the small signs bearing the phone number for the Special Events department. (Will look for my photos.) It seems to me that a nice "gateway" sign would meet many goals while costing less than the budgeted figure. Does anyone pull to a stop, or cross the street, to read the plaque at the senator's feet?

As I understand it, the space has borne the name RPC for many years. "Naming" it would be nice, but there's more bang for the buck in other projects. <cough streetlight banners>

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