Bill Russell Statue Details Announced
BOSTON (May 14, 2012) – The Bill Russell Legacy Committee, the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation and Boston Mayor, Thomas M. Menino today announced that, sculptor Antonio Tobias “Toby” Mendez and architect Matthew Oudens have been chosen as the artist team to design the Bill Russell Legacy Project sculpture. Mendez and Oudens were chosen from three finalist teams that recently presented their artwork concepts to the members of the Bill Russell Legacy Committee. The artists then took part in a brief Q&A. After each artist team met with the committee the Mendez/Oudens design concept was selected.
The Committee chose City Hall Plaza as the location for a Bill Russell tribute statue, citing its prominent civic location and proximity to the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, and many of the city’s popular historic sites. The site was approved by the Committee over the summer. Working with the Boston Art Commission, the three artist teams were asked to incorporate this idea into their proposals, which were presented to the committee. The City is also planning improvements to City Hall Plaza, which will be coordinated with the installation of the artwork.
"This is such a great honor to be chosen to create the Tribute to Bill Russell, Russell is such a transformative person in so many aspects of his life; in his career on the court as a player and later as a coach, his contributions to human rights and in his dedication to mentorship programs that will guide our children into the future,” Artist Toby Mendez said."This is a great opportunity and we are grateful.”
"I am very pleased by the selection of a "team" that will work to represent Bill Russell as one of the greatest champions of all time, on and off the basketball court, and particularly as an advocate for our young people, and for the adult mentoring programs that help so many of our youth." Mayor Menino said.
Mendez is best known for the Thurgood Marshall Memorial in Annapolis, Maryland and locally The Teammates commissioned by the Boston Red Sox. Mendez has over 25 years of experience creating such significant works of art. Mendez apprenticed under the Academy Award winning Sculptor John Chambers and then entered the Art Institute of Chicago, receiving his BFA. While at the Art Institute, Mendez learned the process of bronze casting practiced by sculptors and fine art foundries for centuries. In 1988 Mendez set up his studio where he actively sculpts both private and public commissions. His website can be found at www.tobymendezstudios.com.
In addition to erecting the statue of Russell, the Bill Russell Legacy Project along with the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation has developed a Mentoring Grant program in Russell’s name. This is to ensure Russell’s passion for mentoring children is carried on by expanding the resources for mentoring programs in the city of Boston. The programs that will be receiving grants, thanks to the Bill Russell Legacy Project are; Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring, Generations, Inc. and The DREAM Program, Inc.
“We are so proud to play a role in this effort that reflects Bill’s dedication as a long-time champion for youth mentoring,” Mass Mentoring Partnership’s President and CEO Marty Martinez said. "The organizations selected have a strong commitment to high-quality mentoring and these grants will enable them to inspire future generations of our city's youth.”
“I am thrilled to see the Celtics embrace mentoring and create this program.” Bill Russell said. “The biggest honor of my career was to be Captain of the Boston Celtics and my lifelong passion is to support the mentoring of children.”
Co-chaired by Boston Celtics Managing Partner/Co-owner and President of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca and Boston Philanthropist and Founder of the Bobby Sager Traveling Foundation and Roadshow Bobby Sager, the Bill Russell Legacy Committee consists of Karen Russell, Russell’s friends, colleagues and former teammates as well as Boston Mayor Tom Menino and his Administration. The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation has established the Bill Russell Legacy Fund to act as the major funding vehicle for the project.
“We congratulate Toby and Matthew for being selected for the project and we are excited about their design. The statue will serve to commemorate Bill Russell forever as a Celtic and a mentor for all future generations. We are very proud and honored to be part of his legacy.” Boston Celtics Managing Partner/Co-owner and President of the Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca said.
For more information about the artists and public art in Boston visit publicartboston.org.
To learn more about the Bill Russell Legacy Project and to donate to the Legacy Fund, please visit billrusselllegacy.org.