clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Boston Common Martin Luther King Jr. monument design selected

‘The Embrace,’ a bronze sculpture 22 feet high, will also honor Coretta Scott King

Rendering via Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group

The nonprofit behind efforts to bring a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King to Boston Common have selected the winning design: “The Embrace,” a 22-foot-high bronze sculpture of four arms entwined.

Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group are behind the design, and beat some 126 entrants, which the nonprofit, King Boston, had whittled down to five finalists toward the end of 2018.

The sculpture will rise in Boston Common northeast of the Parkman Bandstand, per the Globe’s Jon Chesto and Jeremy C. Fox. The city, which is backing the monument too, is expected to formally announce the design with King Boston on March 4.

Rendering via Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group

The sculpture could go up as quickly as within 18 months, and will come as the Common undergoes some major revamping overall. A new center in Roxbury regarding economic issues will complement the sculpture.

This was from a release regarding “The Embrace” when the five finalists were announced in September 2018:

Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to identity, history and popular culture.

His work has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the International Center of Photography, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. MASS Design Group designs built environments that seek to improve people’s lives in measurable ways and are infused by the potential to promote justice and human dignity.

Based in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, MASS forces the building process to engage with end stakeholders, and become a catalyst for hope and change in physical space.

Their proposed memorial, “The Embrace,” is overwhelmingly simple and accessible: It is about what we share, not what sets us apart. Beneath the 22-foot-high arms of Dr. King and Coretta Scott, passersby will be reminded of our shared human connection. The memorial will envelop participants, allowing them to be simultaneously vulnerable and protected.

By highlighting the act of embrace, this sculpture shifts the emphasis from singular hero worship to collective action, imploring those curious enough to investigate closer.

“The Embrace” will be a mirror finish bronze, reflecting the changing natural environment of the park and the viewers themselves. Together, “The Capitol,” “The Embrace,” and “The Bandstand” create an axis that leads to the proposed King Educational Center in Dudley Square.

A wall bearing the iconic image that inspired the Embrace will accentuate the exterior facade and mark the gateway to Dudley Square.