A rendering of the Dewey Park sculpture


Embrace and Belonging 

A community meeting about a new monument in Dewey Park 

Date: December 5th, 2022 

Time: 5:00pm - 6:30pm 

Location: Integrated Arts Academy, 6 Archibald St. Burlington 

*Food and refreshments provided*

Join us for an important discussion about the installation of a public monument dedicated to issues of racial equity in Burlington in Dewey Park. We look forward to hearing from you!  

Additional information about the project can be found HERE.

For additional language support or other accommodations please contact REIB front desk 802-923-9839 or email reib@burlingtonvt.gov by December 1st 

Dewey Park Sculpture


In the summer of 2021, the City of Burlington's Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (REIB) office conceived of a public art project that would become a landmark focal point for the community. REIB Partnered with Burlington City Arts (BCA) and Burlington Parks, Recreation, and Waterfront (BPRW) to find a suitable location for the project. Dewey Park was viewed as an ideal location based on a variety of factors, including its central location in the Old North End and proximity to the Integrated Arts Academy, which would make the artwork highly visible to a broad community, especially Burlington’s youth. The park is also home to a farmer’s market in the summer, reinforcing the project’s commitment to strengthening community involvement and use of the park. REIB partnered with BCA to issue a call to artists, support the selection process, and manage the implementation process.



The selection panel was comprised of community members in Burlington, representatives from the neighborhood, the ONE Farmers Market, students engaged with REIB, and others. In August 2021, BCA initiated a nationwide call to artists. 38 artists submitted their qualifications, and the review panel selected five artists from around the country to receive a $1,000 stipend to develop in-depth proposals.

In addition to the winning proposal, finalists considered included the following:

Following the review period, the panel selected Humanity Memorial, led by renowned sculptor Ai Qiu Hopen.

BCA issued a press release announcing the call to artists on September 1, 2021, as well as one announcing the awardee on May 27, 2022. WCAX ran a news story regarding the nationwide search on September 21, 2021.


Embrace and Belonging

Proposed to be a 20-foot tall, stainless steel landmark surrounded by granite seating and a concrete foundation lit from underneath, the form is inspired by two entwined Sankofa birds. The birds' heads turn past one another and embrace. The design represents the need to reflect on history, to harvest what is meaningful from the past in order to build a better future, to recognize that systemic racism in America is crucial to understanding the importance of advocating and acting for justice, and to embrace hope in the present struggle for freedom. 


Next Steps

The artist will submit a final engineered design in the fall of 2022. Installation of the completed work is planned for the spring of 2023, with an unveiling prior to the Juneteenth 2023 celebrations.