ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – A controversial panel at the Dentzel Carousel in Ontario Beach Park will soon be replaced by a new image featuring a black panther.
Rochester City officials joined with the Rochester Museum and Science Center and leaders of the “Take it Down” campaign on Tuesday to announce a contest to create a new painting. It will replace a panel with racist imagery that was removed two years ago.
Officials are asking local artists to submit artwork for the panel “depicting a black panther as an historically important and respected symbol of elegance and strength for the Black community and others.”
The original panel is serving a new educational purpose as part of an exhibit about the history of racism in art and the community.
It’s traveled to several local churches and community centers and is now on display at the museum. The RMSC is organizing the contest to find a local artist who can meet specific criteria to paint the replacement panel…which the city hopes to have in place on the carousel sometime this summer.
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says that many people often say, ‘get over it…slavery is over.’ But she says “we see different forms and the effects of slavery every day in our communities.”
Warren says it is important to tell this part of the nation’s history so that “we can learn from each other.”
She says it is important to have this “teachable moment” because learning about the past, “makes us stronger, it makes us better,” if people are willing to talk about it and to understand it and move forward.
You can get more information about the request for submissions of the new black panther artwork at www.rmsc.org/carousel