Over the din at Times Square, a new art installation calls on visitors to take a moment to sit and think

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Over the din at Times Square, a new art installation calls on visitors to take a moment to sit and think


Visitors to Times Square this weekend are being encouraged to Sit Awhile.

That’s the title of a new art installation honoring late American playwright and civil rights leader Lorraine Hansberry, whose seated bronze statue is surrounded by five empty bronze chairs – an invitation for members of the public to come sit with her and think.

With “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1959, Hansberry became the first Black female playwright to see her work performed on Broadway. She remains in select company more than 60 years later. The works of Black women playwrights account for just 10% of professional productions.

An effort entitled The Lorraine Hansberry Initiative aims to keep Hansberry’s legacy alive, including with a scholarship fund promoting female and nonbinary dramatic writers.

Hansberry also was known for her advocacy in civil rights, fair housing and economic equality. She was the daughter of Carl Augustus Hansberry, who challenged racially restrictive covenants that barred Blacks from buying or leasing property in a Chicago neighborhood, in the landmark 1940 Supreme Court case Hansberry vs. Lee.

She died in New York at the age of 34.

The installation by artist Alison Saar will make stops at the Schomburg Center, Monday through June 18; and Brooklyn Bridge Park, June 23 through June 29; and continue on a nationwide tour that concludes in Chicago, the setting of “A Raisin in the Sun” and Hansberry’s birthplace, where it will be permanently installed in 2023.

: The Museum of the City of New York on Monday will present a panel discussion, The Playwright as Activist, as part of its Freedom Week programming. It will feature a conversation among playwrights Lynn Nottage, Lisa Kron, and Erika Dickerson-Despenza.



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