The Edgar Allan Poe Statue Will Be Unveiled in October
It’s hard to start thinking about autumn when spring and summer are finally upon us, but thanks to the Edgar Allan Poe Foundation of Boston, come October, people will have some new artwork to look forward to and admire while walking the streets.
The non-profit foundation announced this week that they’ll officially unveil a sculpture of Poe at the intersection of Boylston Street and Charles Street South, near Poe’s former residence, after years of fundraising efforts that included everything from hosting events to selling $50 bobble heads of Poe to his die-hard fans.
The good news comes after the Poe Foundation landed a $10,000 grant from the Lynch Foundation, which helped the project reach its fundraising target of $225,000. The money will help cover the total cost of the project, including the fabrication, transportation, installation, and long-term maintenance of the statue.
“It’s terrific. To have reached this point, it was a long public art project with many donors both large and small. But it’s a tribute to the fact that Boston is ready to honor Edgar Allan Poe,” said the foundation’s chairman, Paul Lewis.
Lewis told Boston that the exact plans for the unveiling are still being worked out, but the ceremony will be on October 5, at 2 p.m., in what’s known as “Poe Square.” That small portion of the city’s sidewalk space was deemed worthy of Poe’s moniker during former mayor Tom Menino’s time in office. It was designated Poe Square shortly after the Poe Foundation formed in 2009.
The public unveiling, which will pay homage to Poe’s sordid relationship with Boston and other authors that have lived here, will be held just a few days before the 165th anniversary of the writer’s death on October 7, 1849. Shawmut Design and Construction of Boston has been hired to install the sculpture in a process that will begin in September.
The bronze, life-sized sculpture that will be installed on the sidewalk was created by artist Stefanie Rocknak, who in 2012 beat out a pool of hundreds of other interested artists that were vying for the chance to create a memorial for the author. The artists hailed from 42 states and 13 countries, but after making the top three, Rocknak won out.
Rocknak’s sculpture design, which takes on a sort of cartoonish look, features Poe striding through the square with a large raven by his side. In his hands he holds a briefcase, with pieces of paper trailing behind him.
The Poe foundation originally hoped to raise roughly $177,000 for the entire cost of the project, but during the process to secure funds they ran into some complications. “As is the case with many public art projects, the total cost of the Poe statue has increased from early projections,” Lewis said. “Costs rise late in a process like this as contracts are negotiated with both the city and vendors. In the case of the Poe statue, prices for some work turned out to be higher than we had expected, while commitments to fund long-term maintenance and contingencies that add elements of the unpredictable arose over the past nine months. We’re grateful for donors, large and small, that have helped us keep up with these cost increases.”
Through it all, however, Poe “…is finally coming home,” said Rocknak.
“This has been a long but an enjoyable process. I can’t wait for the day that I am standing in Poe Square, watching the piece come down the road on the transport truck. At that point, it will only be a matter of hours before the sculpture is secured to its final resting place,” she said in a statement.