Adams Community Bank President Charles O'Brien, committee Chairwoman Pam St. John, Young Susan model Imogen Guerin, Sculptor Brian Hanlon, and Tighe & Bond engineer Brandee Nelson.
ADAMS, Mass. — Susan B. Anthony was a passionate speaker and rabble-rouser, a teacher and a strategist, a writer and a reformer. She spent her life crusading for human rights, most especially the right of women to vote and thus have a voice in their future.
How do you express all of that in bronze?
Sculptor Brian Hanlon wants some feedback on how to present Adams' most famous daughter.
"To me what makes a successful monument is one that is not only aesthetically beautiful and one that pays tribute to a prolific woman, American, and human but one that educates," he said. "That is where I need your help."
Hanlon was at Town Hall on Thursday morning to discuss the project at the invitation of Suffrage Centennial Celebration Committee, which has commissioned him to create the statue slated for the Town Common.
Two years ago, the committee formed to organize a yearlong celebration in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of passing the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote and the 200th birthday of Anthony, who was born in the family homestead on East Road.
Plans include a parade, a festival and the bronze statue that will depict both the adult Susan and her as a child.
Hanlon said he wanted the statue to speak for itself and asked for more community input as the project picks up steam.
"I welcome this group's collaboration so we can make sure the right messaging to her legacy is there," he said. "So when we are not here, it is clear who she was and what she did so anyone who looks at it becomes more educated and maybe even inspired."
Hanlon's attorney David Schlendorf said Hanlon has sculptures all over the country but it is rare that an entire community comes together like this to collaborate on one.
"We go from coast to coast and we deal with a lot of municipalities and corporate boards but rarely do we get people as committed to a project as we have here in Adams," he said.
The group then traveled to the Town Common where the statue will be placed. The town plans to overhaul the green space and Brandee Nelson of Tighe & Bond was present to go over some very preliminary plans and solicit input.
"We are happy to be engaged with the community to do a restoration of the town green to support the sculpture and refresh that park," Nelson said.
Nelson said they want the statue to be easily seen by those walking and driving and perhaps connect with the Anthony memorial plaque near the post office as well as the statue of President William McKinley on the north end of Park Street.
Interim Town Administrator Donna Cesan added that the hope is to build something more Victorian looking where the gazebo is.
Although much of this design work is a bit preliminary, a lot of the foundational work has been completed and. at this point, through donations and pledges, the committee has raised $175,000.
Committee Chairwoman Pam St. John broke this number down and said the Adams Community Bank has pledged $50,000 in total, Greylock Federal Credit Union has pledged $10,000, the town of Adams $20,000, the Fitzpatrick Trust $25,000 and the Feigenbaum Foundation $25,000, and that local businesses and residents have donated approximately $45,000.
Committee member William Kolis said even though they have secured enough money to have the sculpture created, there is still a ways to go and more funds will be needed to make upgrades to the Town Common, place the statue, and hold the other planned festivities.
"I am dumbfounded by where we are right now with this project," he said. "We have purchased the diamond but we have to buy the setting."
The committee has also selected a local girl, Imogen Guerin, who will be the model for the young Susan depicted on the statue.
St. John said they will hold a special tea to introduce Imogen to the community.
Kolis said although Susan B. Anthony did much of her work outside of Adams, the town surely played a part in the woman she became.
"She has changed the history of this country and she is out of Adams," he said. "She was born here in Adams and was here until the age of 6 and I think her fundamental personality and values were formed here in Adams."
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BArT Grad: 2020 Not a Dream Year, Not 'a Freak Show'
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — At a time when most are thinking of limitless potential and endless possibilities, BArT senior Will Schrade invited his classmates to embrace mediocrity.
Perhaps not forever, but at this particular moment, as the class of 2020 huddled around their computer screens in quarantine instead of gathering in a gymnasium bursting to capacity, the concept of "good enough" has a certain appeal, Schrade argued.
He was one of four Berkshire Arts and Technology Charter Public School students to provide "senior reflections" during Saturday's hourlong graduation exercises, the first virtual high school graduation in Berkshire County.
Delivering his remarks in a highly unconventional forum, Schrade took the highly conventional step of framing his remarks around a bit of pop culture. In his case, he reflected on an episode of the situation comedy "Community," in which the characters go through various timelines to show how their world would change based on a random event, a toss of a die
Director of Community Development Donna Cesan said the town has decided to terminate the proposal process for the Memorial Building redevelopment with the hopes of reissuing the RFP again in September.
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Council on Aging Director Erica Girgenti said COVID-19 has created new challenges for seniors and elder services throughout the country are finding new ways to protect the community's most vulnerable.
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