The Bill Russell Legacy Project celebrates the legacy of the great Boston Celtics champion, human rights activist and mentorship leader Bill Russell. It was commissioned by the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation for the City of Boston at the behest of the late Mayor Thomas Menino and of President Obama's call for Boston to build a statue "not only to Bill Russell the player, but Bill Russell the man." Through physical exploration of the space, visitors learn about Bill Russell's vision as they consider how each child, when given an equal chance to succeed based on his or her own merits, can become a champion too.
The project incorporates two approaches: a bronze figurative sculpture and an arena of encounter with text, granite and brick elements. The installation, built in partnership with Bill Pressley, FASLA, LEED, AP, and award winning Boston-based Pressley Associates, is at once fully site-specific, interactive and narrative-driven. While the bronze sculpture is tied to Boston's history of commemorative monuments, its context within a site-specific architectural space that highlights the construction of Boston City Hall and opens a clear space for the viewer within the piece looks more towards current approaches to monument design and public art practice.
The second phase of the project relied on a collaborative process with groups of local young peopl; Ekua Holmes, Community Coordinator MassArt's Center for Art and Community Partnerships, Nicole Nkalu Flint, Project R.I.G.H.T.'s S.E.L.F. program coordinator at the Grove Hall Center, Susan Lovett of the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School's A.S.P.I.R.E. program and Kyanna Lungelow and Masika Gadson of the Streetworkers Program of the B.C.Y.F.
Size and Materials:
Bronze, granite and brick, 18' x 33' x 8'
Client and Committees:
The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation, the City of Boston, the Russell family, the Boston Art Commission and Mayor Thomas Menino.