Say Their Names Permanent Art Installation Initiative Frequently Asked Questions
Railroad Park is the current location of the Say Their Names Memorial. At the inception of the permanent art installation initiative, we were working under the impression that the current memorial would need to be removed, and so sought to create a more permanent installation in its place. Given that it initially was being conceived as a replacement for the memorial, we thought it fitting to have it placed in the same area that the memorial was. Since many people already come to the park to visit the memorial, we hoped to maintain that experience for community members. That being said, the permanent installation is no longer being considered as a replacement for the memorial, and as such, the final location for the installation has not been determined. Railroad Park is being considered as well as potentially other locations.
No, the permanent art installation is not going to replace the current Say Their Names Memorial. It is our hope that the permanent art installation and the community memorial are able to live harmoniously together for many years to come. However we recognize that the current Say Their Names Memorial is a community art project that is maintained solely through the efforts of local community members, and it will remain only as long as that commitment to the memorial’s care remains.
We do not believe that potentially adding additional artwork that honors other racial/ethnic groups will dishonor the Chinese railroad workers. We believe that additional artwork will only draw more people to the park and give more exposure to the Hub sculpture. Also, we believe that both the art honoring the Chinese railroad workers and the art honoring Black lives can be a signal of Ashland’s commitment to change by recognizing a marred past and opening the door to conversation about what a different and better future can be.
Community involvement is not only welcomed but pivotal to the success of this project. The community voting process (Summer 2021) gives community members the opportunity to vote on the art proposals that were received for the installation. The top two choices will be reviewed by selection panel made up of Black community members. Also since this is a community-led initiative we are fundraising so that we can actually make the permanent art installation a reality. Donations can be made here.
The Say Their Names Permanent Art Installation is a community initiative that is being driven by local community groups BASE, SOARB, and SOBLACC as The Say Their Names Collective. The Collective has been in communication with Ashland’s Public Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission, and will continue to work with both commissions to ensure that any proposed art work meets the codes and standards of the city of Ashland.
The Say Their Names Art Installation is meant to be a symbol of the change of the race relations with Black people in the Valley, and a stance of that commitment to seeing Black people not only in death but as living whole beings who are welcomed members of the community in the Rogue Valley.