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Calling All Artists: Proposals Sought for Albert E. Hinds Memorial in Plaza

Dilshanie Perera

The Albert E. Hinds Community Plaza is a space where people are naturally inclined to gather together. On warmer days, friends congregate to share stories, readers peruse recently checked out library books, and teens test their skateboarding skills. This scene will one day include a new art installation as a permanent memorial to Mr. Hinds, who fostered community and brought people together throughout his long life.

Borough Council has created the Hinds Memorial Committee to select a work that will best commemorate the achievements of Mr. Hinds while being effectively integrated into the surrounding plaza. Chaired by former Council Member Wendy Benchley, the committee includes Judy Brodsky, artist and Distinguished Professor Emerita, Rutgers University; Leslie Burger, director of the Princeton Public Library; James Floyd, former mayor of Princeton Township; Jeff Nathanson, director of the Princeton Arts Council; Shirley Satterfield, historian of the Witherspoon-Jackson Community; Kate Somers, curatorial consultant and director of the Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University; and Susan Taylor, director of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Area artists are welcome to submit their proposals, and community members may nominate artists for consideration by June 15. Out of these submissions, three artists will be selected to present their work to Borough Council and the Memorial Committee. Once the final design is chosen, it will be on view at Borough Hall for the community to review and provide suggestions.

While describing the initial musings of the Memorial Committee, Ms. Benchley noted that “nobody was content with just having a plaque. It doesn’t really satisfy getting to know more about Albert Hinds.” Ms. Somers added that a successful proposal would be innovative, reflect the achievements of Mr. Hinds, augment, but not dominate the plaza, and also take into account the “permanence and maintenance of materials, practicality of materials and techniques, and safety for the public.”

Mr. Hinds lived through 104 years of Princeton’s history. After attending the Witherspoon Elementary School at a time when schools in Princeton were segregated, he helped pave Nassau Street, drove a horse-drawn carriage to pick up late night passengers arriving at Princeton Junction, taught and coached sports programs at the YMCA, and for over 20 years, served on the Borough and Zoning Boards. An active member of the Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church on Witherspoon Street for his entire life, he started up and led a calisthenics class for elderly members of the church when he was in his nineties.

James Floyd remembers Mr. Hinds, citing him as an inspiration, “for his perseverance, mildness, gentleness, and kindness.” He underscored this statement by adding that Mr. Hinds was “a person who really cared about everyone — family, friends, community.”

When asked about the future memorial, Mr. Floyd noted that “Mr. Hinds always strived for an open community, one that would include minorities and others.” A successful proposal would “indicate his love and outreach in this community and welcome people into it.”

Artist nominations and proposals for artwork may be sent to Ms. Somers at: katesomers@kasarts.com by June 15.

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