The Gordon Parks Memorial has the unique potential to promote education, engage diverse community members, and stimulate youth development throughout the region. This will be done by making a “living memorial” – honoring Gordon Parks by engaging the public and providing organized time & space for activities, events, and educational opportunities in Landmark Plaza.
A living memorial acts as a platform that allows for interaction with the past, brings memory to life in the present, and allows us to enact an ideal future. This is accomplished by engaging the public in open-ended learning processes that are immediately related to Parks’ legacy.
A living memorial to Gordon Parks will create an opportunity for those who engage with it to enact Gordon Parks’ legacy through their lives in the present.
This can be strengthened by ensuring that the memorial is also:
- Interactive, interdisciplinary, and inspiring
- Part of a larger movement, support of In the Footsteps initiatives and other efforts to heal, inspire, and serve a global audience
- Able to engage community artists, Black boys and young men, and appeal to all Minnesotans in educational programming
- More than a statue, larger than life, and offer a broad perspective of Parks’ life
- Able to offer opportunities for ongoing gatherings or annual rituals, keep future generations intrigued, and help to generate new artists while connected with multiple spaces, organizations and programs throughout the cities.
We won’t know exactly what this will look like until an artist has been selected and the preliminary design conceptualized, but here are some examples of contemporary monuments and living memorials.