“Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom,” a 9-foot, 2,400-pound bronze sculpture created by internationally recognized artist Wesley Wofford, will be on display at the Ulster County Office Building, 204 Fair St. in Kingston, from November 1, 2022, through January 2, 2023.
One of the highlights of the exhibition is the arrival celebration of the sculpture, which will be installed during a program at the Ulster County Office Building on Tuesday, November 1, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. The installation will be a temporary outdoor exhibit at the County Building and will remain on exhibit until January 2, 2023.
In addition, a schedule of events spanning two months is will be presented in partnership with local cultural organizations that will celebrate the legacy of Harriet Tubman. These virtual and in-person programs will happen throughout Kingston and Ulster County and will reflect the themes of activism, role models, heroes, human rights reparations, freedom, resilience, determination, contributions of strong women and equality.
Featured programs include a screening of the movie Harriet; music, dance, and theater performances; conversations with notable local artists focusing on the power of public art; historical tours; art-making activities; author and artist discussions; celebrations of the anniversary of Harriet Tubman’s 200th birthday; and much more. Participating organizations include Kingston Library, Harambee, MyKingstonKids, the City of Kingston’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Kingston Midtown Arts District, The D.R.A.W., Center for Creative Education, UPAC, Old Dutch Church, the Ministry of Maåt and others to be announced. See our events calendar for specific event dates and details.
Wofford, the creator of the statue, said, “There is a lot of embedded symbolism within the narrative of the piece. The contours of the base represent the Maryland/Delaware Peninsula, where Harriet was enslaved, eventually escape, and continued to return for her freedom raids. The dramatic step up/cut is the Pennsylvania state line, and they are stepping out of the slave states to an elevated freedom. The dress is enveloping the young girl, billowing protectively like a flag, and is meant to represent all the legal protections afforded every United States citizen-a symbol of the future equality to come.”
“We know the Hudson Valley was one of the main arteries of the Underground Railroad,” wrote author and historian Fergus Bordewich, referring to the early to mid-1800s when fugitive slaves traveled to freedom with the help of abolitionists. “We know that large numbers of fugitives were sent from Philadelphia to New York City, and up through the valley to Albany and Troy. Most of them were sent onward to Central New York, Vermont, or Massachusetts.”
The statue is an artist’s copy of an original private commission in Dallas, and it is on an exhibit tour. Sculptor Wesley Wofford was a figurative sculptor in Hollywood who created realistic people and animals for more than 75 television shows and films, among then Hannibal and Batman and Robin. He is a fellow in the National Sculpture Society and the Portrait Sculpture Society. He moved to Cashiers, N.C., to establish a studio and pursue fine art sculpture.
Calendar of Events
All events free, unless otherwise noted.
Additional events after publication, visitulstercountyny.com.
Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom Arrival Celebration. Parade begins at 5pm at Harambee Pine St. Burial Ground, 157 Pine St. to Ulster County Office Building, 240 Fair St. Performances and spoken word. Reception to follow. 800-342-5826 Nov. 3 Book Discussion: She Came to Slay by Erica Armstrong Dunbar. All who register will get a free copy of the book to read before the event. 6:30pm, The Kingston Library, 55 Franklin St., 845-331-0507
Finding North, a National Endowment for the Arts commissioned play written by David Gonzalez featuring actor Daniel Carlton. 7pm, Old Dutch Church, 272 Wall St., 845.331.0080 Ext. 3929
Deep Listening: The Story of Pauline Oliveros, HUDSON VALLEY PREMIER, 7:30pm, Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main Street, Rosendale. For more info/ ticket purchase: rosendaletheatre.org
Deep Listening: The Story of Pauline Oliveros, HUDSON VALLEY PREMIER, 2pm, Rosendale Theatre, 408 Main Street, Rosendale. For more info/ ticket purchase: rosendaletheatre.org
Harriet, a 2019 American biographical film directed by Kasi Lemmons, who also wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard. Starring Cynthia Erivo as abolitionist Harriet Tubman. 3pm, Ulster Performing Arts Center, 601 Broadway, 845-339-6088
Opening Reception for the exhibition Legacy Reimagined: Ben Wigfall and Communication Village with the Pop-Up Gallery Group (PUGG) and artist Don Christian. Presented by The D.R.A.W. 5-7pm, Harambee Pine Street Burial Ground, 157 Pine St., 845-853-8443
Church Service "I Listen For God's Voice" Guest Orator Oliver King (Frederick Douglas) . 10:30am, Old Dutch Church, 272 Wall St., 845-338-6759
A workshop/ritual presented by City of Kingston 2022 Distinguished Artist recipient, Jaguar Mary X. An initiatory experience to help us access the power of Harriet that resides within us. 7pm, Location TBA, 845.331.0080 Ext. 3929
MyKingstonKids, MidHudson Federal Credit Union & People’s Place present Harriet Tubman Mural in Virtual Reality. 6-9pm, People’s Place, 845-338-3040
Hidden History with Sam Collins. Hidden History will discuss the many buried stories that are being uncovered such as Sugar Land 95, Absolute Equality in the Juneteenth story, United States Colored Troops fight for their own freedom and the finger prints of the enslaved people that surround us. 6pm at Kingston City Hall, 420 Broadway. Samuel Collins III serves on the Board of Advisors with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, President of the Juneteenth Legacy Project, historian and community activists.
Veterans’ Day. Harriet Tubman was a veteran, as well as many other things. Visit the Veterans’ Memorial right next to the Tubman sculpture.
My Kingston Kids Red-K Reading Lounge for Harriet Tubman 1- 2:30pm, Pine Street African Burial Ground, 157 Pine St., 845-853-8443
Film Screening: Black is the Color highlights key moments in the history of African-American visual art, from Edmonia Lewis’s 1867 sculpture Forever Free, to the work of contemporary artists such as Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Ellen Gallagher, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. 6:30-7:30pm The Kingston Library , 55 Franklin St., 845-331-0507
Sojourner Truth Day
Community Conversation: Who Has the Right to Art? 6:30- 7:30pm, The Kingston Library, 55 Franklin St., 845-331-0507
Listening to the Ancestors: Black Abolitionists & Black Feminists Speak. A Literary and Historical Presentation by Ione. Virtual / Hybrid. 2PM, The Kingston Library, 55 Franklin St., 845-331-0507
"Winter Solstice Celebration-Season of Change." Event outside the Ulster County building near the Harriet Tubman statue. Usher in and celebrate change with performances by Energy Dance Company, Center for Creative Education's Community Drummers, youth readings, poets, music and more. 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Ars Choralis Performance themed for Langston Hughes' Let America Be America Again. The 150th City of Kingston Anniversary Finale. 7pm, Old Dutch Church, 845-338-6759
Day One Walk
Last day to see the “Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom” sculpture in front of the Ulster County building at Fair/Main St in Uptown Kingston.
Harriet Tubman departs for Lancaster, PA