Afro pick sculpture installed near Frank Rizzo statue

- As the city continues to debate whether or not a statue of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo should be removed, a cultural arts program is sparking controversy with its latest sculpture.

It’s an eight feel, 800-pound Afro pick — a symbol of black power — and the handle features a black fist.

The sculpture is part of a city-wide arts and history project that features temporary art installations in 10 locations, created by 20 artists.

This one on the Thomas Paine Plaza, titled ‘All Power for All the People,’ is steps away from the infamous Frank Rizzo statue that has stirred up controversy in recent weeks. FOX 29 cameras caught someone defacing the bronze monument under the cover of darkness.

Now, the city is discussing and debating on whether or not to keep or remove the controversial statue.

And that discussion is the actual focus of the Monument Lab. Through art, they hope to answer the question "what is an appropriate monument for the city of Philadelphia?"

This pick, created by Hank Willis Thomas, a New York-based artist with Philly ties, is his effort to tackle topics like community, strength and racial oppression.

Jane Golden, the executive director of the Mural Arts Program says “the range, depth, and breadth of their ideas will have a major impact on the city at a time when it's more important than ever to have conversations about how we want to be represented in public space."

Many are voicing their opinions about this program and this specific installment.

The artist and several others will be in the city on Saturday to speak about their artwork and answer questions from the public. The event will take place at 1 p.m. in the City Hall Courtyard.

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