In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop, Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard, ArtsWestchester, and the family of the influential hip-hop artist Heavy D joined the development team behind 42 Broad — a joint venture of Alexander Development Group, The Bluestone Organization, and institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Global Alternatives — for the unveiling of Brooklyn-based artist Eto Otitigbe’s Peaceful Journey. This monumental public art installation celebrates the rapper’s music and legacy in Mount Vernon. This sculpture will be an eye-catching sight for anyone entering or exiting the City of Mount Vernon, and that will permanently reside in the plaza of 42 Broad St.
“Otitigbe’s abstract artwork will add a spectacular focal point to a gateway to the City of Mount Vernon,” says Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard. “Not only my friend and a son of Mount Vernon, but Heavy D was also an integral part of making Mount Vernon the Jewel of Westchester; his influence in the creation of this sculpture makes it more meaningful. Although Heavy D has begun his ‘peaceful journey,’ Mr. Otitigbe’s sculptural arch is a true testament to the pride, resilience, and transformation of ‘Money Earnin Mount Vernon.’ I am sure this warms the heart of the Myers family and all Heavy D touched as not only an artist but a resident of Mount Vernon.”
“I wanted to pay homage to the Mount Vernon community that had such an important place in hip-hop with this work of art,” says Eto Otitigbe of Peaceful Journey. The artist explains that the Heavy D song the sculpture is named after “offers a thoughtful and complex picture of the lives of Black and Brown people [living] in places like Mount Vernon, the Bronx or Los Angeles”
“We are grateful and honored to the City of Mount Vernon, ArtsWestchester, and the 42 Broad development team of Mark Alexander, Nicholas Alexander and the Bluestone Organization for commemorating the legacy of the groundbreaking album ‘Peaceful Journey’ by Heavy D & the Boyz during the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop music and culture,” says Floyd Myers, brother of Heavy D. “Today's sculpture unveiling is a testament to the impact of this album and the artistry of Dwight Myers (Heavy D), Troy Dixon (Trouble T-Roy), Eddie Ferrell (Eddie F.) and Glen Parrish (G-Wiz) had on the music industry. We hope this statue will inspire future generations to tap into their creativity as a means of expression and expanding the message of love, peace, and unity as voiced in the music of Heavy D & the Boyz.”
“Public art is integral to our development philosophy,” says Mark Alexander, co-founder and principal of Alexander Development Group. “At 42 Broad, we are allocating a sizeable budget for highly visible art to create a memorable place, promote community pride, and to raise the level of aesthetics and energy in the city. Great public art should be transformational, and that is our intent with Otitigbe’s monumental sculpture. Peaceful Journey compliments the metalwork and brick masonry of the building, while inviting the public to walk through its dappled lit archway.”
Janet T. Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester and public art partner to the project explains, “Public art like Eto Otitigbe’s sculpture will enhance the downtown offering a bit of the unexpected, a bit of the extraordinary into everyday life. Investment in public art is investment in a community because signature artwork like this helps create more livable, more creative communities and more enjoyable communities.”