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On the Road to Freedom: Harriet Tubman

YONKERS, NY -- In celebration of Women’s Month and Harriet Tubman’s 201st birthday, Vinnie Bagwell will reveal her latest contribution to the public-art landscape “On the Road to Freedom: Harriet Tubman”. Bagwell has created a 7-foot sculpture of a young abolitionist fueled with hope and determination. The sculpture was available for viewing , last Saturday, March 4th, at the Vinnie Bagwell Studio, 92 Main Street, Loft 204, Yonkers, New York 10701.

The City of Niagara Falls commissioned the 7 foot sculpture of the abolitionist icon and it was funded by New York State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

Harriet Tubman was 29 years old when she became a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Thus, Bagwell says, “I chose to portray her young as a call to action that renews inspiration for young people to serve a purpose for the larger good”. Bagwell thinks it’s important to invite the community into the process of creating art for public places and believes the beauty of public art is accessibility. She says, “I am an advocate of experiential learning and make outreach efforts that draw the community-at-large into the creative process. My artwork speaks to the viewer, and they are meant to be engaged.” The sculpture is scheduled for bronze casting and will be installed outside of the Underground Railroad Heritage Museum in Niagara Falls, New York, in fall of 2023.

Public art is one of the most powerful ways to impact society. Bagwell’s sculptures showcase Black achievement in the context of American history. Vinnie Bagwell is leaving her artistic footprint across the country: “Yesterday”, a public artwork to honor enslaved Africans in Irvington, NY, will be installed this spring. “The Reverend James Lawson, Jr.”, a 6’ bronze of the Civil Rights Movement’s tactician for all of the major protest marches, is being commissioned by Penn State Fayette. Bagwell is also working on the final designs for a life-sized “Mary Burnett Talbert” for Buffalo and “Victory Beyond Sims” is to replace the J.Marion Sims sculpture removed from Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, commissioned by the City of New York. She’s also a finalist for Binghamton’s call for artists for a signature public artwork of Harriet Tubman for Binghamton University.

Vinnie Bagwell has several public artworks in New York: “Sojourner Truth” at the welcome center at the Walkway Over the Hudson in Highland, “The Enslaved Africans Rain Garden” in Yonkers on the Hudson, “Frederick Douglass Circle” at Hofstra University in Hempstead, and “The First Lady of Jazz Ella Fitzgerald” in Yonkers, the first public artwork of a contemporary African-American woman to be commissioned by a municipality in the United States. The creative genius of Vinnie Bagwell’s sculptures gives voice to the ancestor’s stories and meaning to their legacies.

For guest access to the “On the Road to Freedom: Harriet Tubman” reveal contact: Sculptor Vinnie Bagwell |


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