A new sculpture that represents diversity and inclusion will be erected at Fall River's Government Center this fall. The sculptor is Fall River native and Durfee graduate Barney Zeitz, a 70-year-old self-described "failed hippy." Why did he fail as a a hippy?

"I worked way too hard my whole life," Zeitz said.

The last art project Zeitz created took him four years. It is a moving piece at a church in Germany that was once a synagogue. He created glass windows to remember the "no longer Jewish population" in that town.

Fall River's newest sculpture is all about diversity, Zeitz said. Work on it began long before the racial tensions of last summer; he was approached about the project by former Fall River City Councilor, Steve Camara, three and a half years ago.

Courtesy of Barney Zeitz
Courtesy of Barney Zeitz

"It is made up of nine figures that have a variety of looks," he said. "One clearly looks Indigenous, there's one figure that looks of African decent, one that looks of Asian decent." It is supposed to represent all people.

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There are four categories of people that are represented in the sculpture, and Zeitz believes that fully includes everyone that has ever come – or will come in the future – to Fall River and to the United States. Those four categories are Indigenous people, immigrants, the enslaved, and refugees.

Fall River Sculpture Sketch

The sculpture will list a "thank you" to the hundreds of people who have donated.

"I want it to be owned by the people," Zeitz said. It will also feature this quote:

Through the enduring memory of our ancestors, indigenous people, then immigrants, the enslaved, and refugees.  May we, their descendants, together with newcomers, help build a more just and peaceful community. — Barney Zeitz

While we credit Zeitz with the quote above, he would be the first to say that the quote was crafted by a number of people. Zeitz said he remembers a woman who was very involved with the Wampanoag group that took offense to the wording of the original quote. The first line of Zeitz's quote originally read, "To the enduring memory of our ancestors who have enriched this land." Zeitz said the Wampanoag woman disagreed with him, saying that those ancestors did not enrich this land, they ruined it.

The placement of the sculpture will intentionally emerge out of the cornerstone of the building. The figures will be shown coming out of the wall, and will be looking into the future.

Zeitz is hoping the sculpture will be finished and dedicated by September, but said we will definitely be able to see at Fall River Government Center by November.

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