The “Fearless Girl” statue in the Financial District will stay in its position staring down the famous “Charging Bull” for at least the next 11 months, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Monday.
The 4-foot statue of a bronze girl with her hands on her hips and head held high was installed on the eve of International Women’s Day and quickly became a viral sensation. It was intended to be displayed for a week, but was given an extension into April before de Blasio offered reprieve until February.
“She spoke to the moment, that sense that woman were not going to live in fear, that women were going to teach their daughters and all the girls in their life to believe in themselves,” de Blasio said, speaking in front of the statue. “Sometimes a work of art captures a moment in history and that’s what’s happened here.
“Sometimes a symbol helps us become whole, and I think the ‘Fearless Girl’ is having that same affect,” he added. “She is inspiring everyone in a moment where we need inspiration.”
The statue, commissioned by the firm State Street Global Advisors and sculpted by artist Kirsten Visbal, was extended through the Department of Transportation Art program.
Swarms of tourists and New Yorkers gathered around “Fearless Girl” on Monday afternoon, taking turns posing with the statue.
“It’s not just about the woman, it’s about equal opportunity and being together,” said Bay Ridge resident Eileen Corigliano, 45, after she took a photo of the famous statue. “I think it should just stay here. I don’t know why it would go.”
The call for the small but mighty statue to become a permanent fixture on Broadway was echoed by Public Advocate Letitia James, who stood with other city and state leaders on the steps of City Hall on Monday morning.
“The importance of empowering women is not temporary, and it’s not something that can last for 11 months,” she said at the news conference. “It’s something that needs to be made permanent.”
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) said the statue “was created to bring attention to the courage and unrealized power of women in so many fields” and inspired her to continue fighting for equal rights legislation.
“She has clearly struck a nerve. She has become an overnight sensation,” Maloney said. “And she has really, really become a meaningful part of the community of New York.”
Visbal said the response has proven to her that art can make a difference.
“It’s kind of renewed my faith in sculpture, in art to make an impact on society, to create a debate the way a good piece of art should,” she said. “She’s capable and she makes a simple statement: Women are an integral part of the financial community and the world business community as a whole.”
Last week, de Blasio said he was “hesitant” to make the statue permanent because of the “ramifications for the whole city.”