Public Art Piece by Jefferson Team Will Celebrate Poet Jupiter Hammon and Black History of New York Town

Designed by College of Architecture and the Built Environment students, alumni and faculty, “Redemption” will feature quotes by prominent Black figures from Huntington’s history.

A College of Architecture and the Built Environment team earned a $75,000 grant to create a public art project celebrating Black history in Huntington, N.Y.

The piece, “Redemption,” in the town’s Fair Meadow Park will feature three large steel panels creating a spatial enclosure. Quotes by prominent Black figures from the town’s history will be laser cut into the steel.

“Redemption” pays homage to the poem “An Evening Thought: Salvation by Christ, with Penetential Cries” by Jupiter Hammon, one of America’s first published Black authors. The poem features the line, “Redemption now to every one, That love his holy Word.” Hammon was born into slavery in Lloyd Neck on Long Island, just a few miles from Huntington.

The work is a joint effort by Dr. Grace Ong Yan, assistant professor of interior design and interior architecture; Andrew Hart, assistant professor of architecture; architecture students Polina Filipova and Leila Moutawakil; and recent MS in interior architecture graduate Elena Nestico.

“Redemption” will celebrate the achievements of Black trailblazers, entrepreneurs and leaders from the Huntington area, including Hammon, John Coltrane, Booker T. Washington, philanthropist and nurse Lynnette Vassall-Crawford and Richard H. Robertson III, the town’s first Black police officer. The community will meet to create the content to be cut into the structure.

“It’s a call that links history to the future as a catalyst for the work that needs to be accomplished as a community,” Dr. Ong Yan says.

Funded by a grant from the town of Huntington, “Redemption” will be completed by spring 2024.