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Groups Seek Artwork Honoring Roberto Clemente for New South Bronx Plaza

By Eddie Small | January 22, 2016 3:57pm | Updated on January 25, 2016 7:45am
 SoBRO is seeking artwork that honors Roberto Clemente to go in the new plaza that bears his name, which should be completed by the end of the year.
SoBRO is seeking artwork that honors Roberto Clemente to go in the new plaza that bears his name, which should be completed by the end of the year.
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Garrison Architects

THE HUB — Artwork honoring the legendary ballplayer and humanitarian Roberto Clemente is on its way to a new plaza in The Hub named in his honor.

The Roberto Clemente Plaza should arrive in The Hub by the end of this year, and the economic development group SoBRO has started trying to find the person who will design the public art in the structure that honors the ballplayer's legacy.

Clemente was an MVP and two-time World Series winner with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but officials are looking for the art in his namesake plaza to focus more on his achievements off the field, according to SoBRO Director of Special Projects Michael Brady.

"It has to honor Clemente in terms of being a humanitarian, not his baseball life," he said.

Clemente was killed in a plane crash on his way to help with earthquake relief in Nicaragua, and Major League Baseball now gives out an award in his honor to players who excel at community involvement and sportsmanship.

SoBRO, which is going through the selection process in coordination with the city, is initially calling on artists to send in 10 examples of their past work, a resume and a brief summary describing their qualifications and why they should be considered for the project.

A panel of people from the art community, city agencies and community organizations will then narrow down the submissions to five artists, who will be given $2,500 each to design renderings of what they would like to install in the plaza.

The artists will show off their ideas throughout the South Bronx at locations like Hostos Community College and the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and a panel of representatives from the neighborhood, art community, city agencies, SoBRO and the Clemente family will select the winner, according to Brady. This should happen sometime in the spring.

The second place finisher will receive $3,000 from SoBRO to paint a mural in the surrounding neighborhood.

Artists must send in their initial packages to jdembski@sobro.org by 9 a.m. on Feb. 1 and are strongly encouraged to attend an information session about the selection process on Jan. 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. in SoBRO's office at 555 Bergen Ave.

Although the submission process is open to all artists, Brady stressed that SoBRO would strongly prefer to have the winner be an artist from the South Bronx.

"A lot of these city public art projects, they’re great, but oftentimes they’re executed by someone who’s a big headliner from Brazil or Tokyo or someplace outside of the locality of The Bronx," he said. "So SoBRO is trying to make sure that there’s a local Bronx artist who’s commissioned to do the artwork."