Mosaic ‘Spirit of Harlem’ Returning to Frederick Douglass Blvd at 125th Street

 

 

Image via the artists’ website, louisdelsarte.com   Spirit of Harlem, 10 feet x 30 feet

The iconic mural ‘Spirit of Harlem‘ by artist Louis Delsarte was replaced this week with painted black brick, sporting signage of one of the new shops in the commercial space at 125th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

Just days after our original post, we received good news, in a statement from Maira Liriano, who initiated the petition, which reads as follows:

Dear Fellow Activitists,

Your participation in this protest has been helpful in getting a positive response from Foot Locker, Inc.

I received an email from Mary Signorino, Director of PR & Communications for Foot Locker, Inc. stating the following:

“We respect and honor Harlem’s rich and diverse history and are committed to preserving and restoring the “Spirit of Harlem” mural that has become a meaningful tribute to that history.  We recognize that we disappointed you. It was never our intention to upset those in the community. We have been in touch with the artist, Mr. Delsarte, and will be working with him to make this right.”

I also spoke to a respresentative of the artist, Louis Delsarte, on the telephone yesterday to confirm what Ms. Signorino wrote. She told me that Mr. Desarte is in contact with Foot Locker and that they have invited him to help restore the mural, but there is no firm date yet.

We are getting closer to our demands, but we must stay vigilant. We cannot declare victory until the mural is restored and in full view.

It is also an opportunity to remind corporations of their responsibility to respect a community’s culture, history and art. A lesson must be learned that corporate indifference and disrespect, which often comes from gentrification, will be challenged. A better outcome is to work with communities from the beginning; don’t ignore what’s all around you. It’s a beautiful world which can only enhance your business.

Please continue to spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends. Let’s help raise awareness of this problem and let’s keep the pressure on for a quick resolution.

https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/bring-back-spirit-of-harlem-mural

Thanks,

Maira Liriano

……and continuing the conversation, PBS NewsHour asks the question, “Who fights for public art in the face of gentrification?”

As of February 1st, 2018 Footlocker is still working on the restoration/removal of the false wall. Stay tuned.

Read more about the covering of the mosaic, and the short and successful agreement to restore the artwork to the community (below).

Continue reading “Mosaic ‘Spirit of Harlem’ Returning to Frederick Douglass Blvd at 125th Street”