The city has opened a public survey for people to vote on the five semifinalist designs until Friday night. The public feedback will be taken into account when a committee composed of members of Tubman’s family, historians, educators, public artists and other stakeholders selects the winning design in October.
Race was not a specific criterion in the selection process, Lee said. The city selected the five semifinalists, she said, by examining photos of the designs and asking the artists about Tubman’s importance.
“We looked at the artists who applied to ask about whether or not they reflected the diversity of the Philadelphia community,” Lee said.
Wofford said he considered entering the competition with one of his designs but thought he would have an unfair advantage because of his previous discussions with the city. He said he did offer a larger version of “Journey to Freedom” at cost if Philadelphia needed a fallback plan.
Bagwell’s design, “Harriet Tubman, City of Liberty,” shows a nine-foot-tall Tubman when she first arrives in Philadelphia at age 29, standing with her palms open to the sky. The untitled design from Richard Blake shows Tubman holding a lantern, a pistol tucked in her belt as she walks beneath the Liberty Bell.
“Together in Freedom,” a design by Tanda Francis, 45, depicts several silhouettes of Tubman over a keystone. An untitled design by Alvin Pettit shows Tubman bent in a praying stance as if she is leaning into the wind, and a design by Basil Watson, called “Keep Going,” depicts Tubman leading people escaping from slavery toward freedom.