Carmel pushes to add more representative statue, one group calls for more modern version

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A proposed statue meant to add representation in Carmel has one group saying it does just the opposite. After several requests from the city’s Black community, Mayor Jim Brainard said he is working to add a sculpture on their behalf.

The newest statue called “Waiting to Cross,” depicts a young Black girl holding on to a stop sign.

There are already 15 statues from the same collection created by artist J. Seward Johnson spread throughout Carmel. They are meant to show what life was like in the 1970s. The group Carmel Against Racial Injustice has an issue with that.

Members believe if the mayor plans to spend $70,000 on a statue, it should reflect what’s going on in the world today.

“Our decision to ask for the reconsidering of what statue is used, does not take away from the goal, representation. It would speak volumes for the statue of a black individual to be designed and created by a black artist with input from the black community,” the group said in a statement to News 8.

Brainard said he understands the frustration, however, he said the statue is only meant to add representation to an already established collection.

“The criticism was she’s not dressed like people dress today and that’s exactly right. She’s dressed like a little girl might of been dressed in the 1970s,” said Brainard.

He said the statues are hard to come by because the artist only casts 8 of each one. Brainard also said J. Seward Johnson died this year, meaning no more will be made.

“This is not a one shot opportunity to get representation of a minority member of the community. We want to continue to use African American artists, we want to continue to seek input from all communities in Carmel,” said Brainard.

The new statue has not yet been approved by the City Council. The next meeting is Oct. 5. If passed, Brainard said he will recommend the new statue is placed on the Monon Trail just south of Main Street.