Have an Idea for the Rizzo Statue? The City Wants to Hear It

Want to ship the sculpture to a museum? Plunk it in the Schuylkill? Display it in your living room? Philly's all ears.

Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock during the past week or so knows the city has a little problem with its Frank Rizzo statue.

The sculpture of the contentious former mayor and police commissioner has come under fire in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, which ignited a conversation about the monuments we choose to honor. First, Councilwoman Helen Gym and activists renewed a push for its removal. Then it was egged. Then it was tagged with “Black Power.”

What happens next could be up to you – the city has put out a call for ideas for the statue’s future. Now’s your chance to write 500 words on how much you hate or love the statue and why (which you’ve probably already done in the comments sections of several news stories this week). 

Maybe you detest Rizzo for his reputation as a racist and divisive official. Maybe you want to throw the monument in the nearest dumpster, melt it down or stick it in a neighborhood that could use some of the attention the statue has gotten. Or perhaps you live in South Philly and have a soft spot for the former Italian mayor – maybe you want to see his sculpture in a city museum, as a “testament to human imperfection,” or maybe you want to open your own Frank Rizzo museum and make it the centerpiece.

Either way, now’s your chance to rant and hope the city listens. The deadline for submitting ideas for the statue’s future is 5 p.m. on September 15th – so you’ve got about three weeks to formulate your most convincing argument.

You might want to do some research – we suggest this Jake Blumgart piece on how Donald Trump is Rizzo, reborn, or this remastered 1978 documentary on Rizzo, or you can learn about him in his own words, through some of his past interviews.

Then, when you’re feeling confident, make your ideas known here and cross your fingers. Eventually the Art Commission will decide what happens to the statue (and that decision probably won’t come until October).

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.