Sculpture of afro pick goes up near Frank Rizzo statue

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Sculpture of afro pick goes up near Frank Rizzo statue. Katherine Scott reports during Action News at Noon on September 13, 2017. (WPVI)

A new piece of artwork has gone up next to the controversial Frank Rizzo statue in Center City.

Mural Arts Philadelphia has installed a sculpture of an afro pick, with a clenched fist on the other end.

It is called "All Power to All People."

The temporary art display outside the Municipal Services Building stands eight feet tall and weighs nearly 800 pounds.

Artist Hank Willis Thomas says the sculpture was placed there to highlight ideas related to community, perseverance and resistance to oppression.

"I think it's great but it should be bigger," said Aileen Haggerty of South Philadelphia.

"I'm trying to figure out what it means and what it's going to stand for. I hope it stands for everyone in the city," said Isaac Simmons of North Philadelphia.

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The sculpture is part of a project produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia that features temporary art installations in 10 locations.

Their central question is: what is an appropriate monument for the current City of Philadelphia?

"It's art, it's not controversial. I love it," said Shawn Rae Feimster of West Philadelphia.

"This one, in my mind, is specially targeted toward one particular group of people," said Judy Boggs of Fox Chase.

The pick is placed in eyesight of the statue of former mayor Frank Rizzo, a topic of heated debate that reignited last month with calls to take it down.

"I think it's a connection there. I really do because of what they did to his statue. So now this one comes up and it's saying 'power to all people,' not just one race," said Rhonda Rockeymore of Southwest Philadelphia.

"I think especially in light of the Rizzo statue, which I think should come down, which I think has a legacy of police brutality, white supremacy, homophobia, that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable. 'All power to all people' should make everyone feel comfortable," Haggerty said.

The city is currently taking public input on the fate of the Rizzo statue. Some point out the statues are two among many in and near the plaza.

"I don't see where one has anything to do with the other," said Boggs.

This is part of a larger project that officially starts on Saturday. There will be other statues popping up across the city over the coming weeks.

Philadelphia has been asking for the public's helpin deciding the fate of the Rizzo statue.

The statue has been vandalized multiple times in recent weeks.

Rizzo served as the city's mayor from 1972 to 1980. Critics argue he reigned over a corrupt police department and used his power to alienate minorities. Supporters say he was a devout public servant who wasn't afraid to speak his mind.

To submit your idea about what to do with the Rizzo statue, visit Office of the Mayor's Website
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Related Topics:
politicsphiladelphia newsrizzostatuestatue desecration
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