The goal of the committee (click for full list) appointed by Mayor Elicker in late summer 2020 is to determine an appropriate monument to honor the contributions of Italian American heritage in New Haven. The committee will research and develop the form and identity for a monument, statue or similar symbol of appropriate dimension and stature that represents the Italian American experience and will be placed atop the existing or, if necessary, modified pedestal in Wooster Square Park.
Progress to date:
The WSMC has worked diligently since August 2020 and in September published a Request for Ideas, inviting members of the Greater New Haven community contribute. By October 12, the submission deadline, more than 100 ideas, comments and suggestions were received.
After reviewing all entries, categorizing them and beginning discussions on a suitable replacement, it was decided that no single person or historical figure would be appropriate. Instead, the Committee – inspired by many of the submitted ideas – decided to commission a public art installation that tells the story of Italian immigration to New Haven and Wooster Square, as well as highlights the contributions Italian immigrants and their descendants have made to the City of New Haven.
On April 1, 2021 a Call to Artists – RFQ was released to the public. (posted above). The goal is to identify and engage a professional artist/designer to work collaboratively to bring the story of Italian immigration to life.
“The Story,” as written by the members of the Committee, is proposed to be told through story boards using both written content and actual photographs to enhance the experience. The story boards will be in a garden setting around the existing, or modified foundation. (The Committee is seeking to modify the height of the foundation, which needs to go through an approval process with the City of New Haven. If approved, the stones removed from the foundation will be incorporated into the landscape design.)
We are asking professional artists who have experience in public art projects to work collaboratively with a landscape designer to prepare a presentation that brings this project together visually. We are asking all applicants to embrace our story and create a sculpture for the top of the foundation and a landscape that will bring our story to life. Our ultimate goal is to make this a place for social gathering, education and historical preservation.
How how will this project be funded?
This public art project will be privately funded through grants and community donations. No money will be coming from the City of New Haven. This is a source of Italian American pride and heritage. We welcome all ideas from those professionals who have the experience and meet the requirements expressed in the RFQ and are willing to work collaboratively with our committee and our community.
A few photos that represent the story of Wooster Square
Images at the monument site will reflect the area’s history and its vibrance today. Each image will be interspersed by a graphic such as the Wooster Square Park fence, cherry blossoms, or the Wooster Street arch. Here’s just a few: