After three years staring down the New York Stock Exchange, the Fearless Girl statue’s fate hangs in the balance. The statue’s three-year permit, which was granted by the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission, expires on November 29th and a hearing to make it a more permanent fixture has been delayed until December at the earliest. What happens to the statue will be up to the Public Design Commission, a panel appointed by the mayor to oversee public artworks in New York City.
“We are being left in limbo,” Kristin Visbal, the statue’s artist, told the New York Times. Visbal created Fearless Girl in 2017 as a commission for the financial firm State Street Global Advisors. It was initially installed in Bowling Green with a one-week permit, but proved so popular that it was moved to Broad Street and given a three-year permit. The four-foot statue of a girl defiantly staring up at the Stock Exchange was supposedly placed prominently in the Financial District in order to encourage gender equality in the corporate workforce, though some critics have called it “corporate feminism.”
Regardless of the intent, the Fearless Girl statue draws thousands of tourists, who gleefully take selfies with it. It has been decorated for various occasions, including for International Women’s Day in 2018 and as a tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsgburg after her death last year.
The Public Design Commission is scheduled to meet next on December 13th, but they’ll only discuss Fearless Girl’s fate if the landmarks report is submitted before then. Last month, State Street Global Advisors requested a 10-year permit from the commission.
According to the New York Times, “Normally, a statue looking for a permanent place in the city would begin its process with the Public Design Commission, which would help decide its design and location. In this case, though, the commission is weighing in four years after the sculpture hit the streets, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission will issue an advisory report to the design panel, which will decide its fate.”
Zodet Negron, a landmarks commission representative, told the Times that the agency is not likely to issue a violation while a permit application is pending.
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