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MGAC Managed the Fabrication and Delivery of Hank Willis Thomas’ ‘The Embrace’ Sculpture at the Boston Common


MGAC Represented the Artist for New Monument dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, the first new monument in the Boston Common in 30 years

BOSTON (January 16, 2023) – MGAC, a global project management and owner’s representation consultancy, worked with celebrated artist Hank Willis Thomas to facilitate the delivery of The Embrace, his monumental public sculpture that lives inside the Boston Common. The striking piece of art depicts Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King’s interlocked arms as a powerful symbol of love. The image informing the sculpture’s design is a photograph taken after King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Opening to the public today, the 20-foot-tall bronze sculpture was commissioned by Embrace Boston, a program sponsored by The Boston Foundation to create a living memorial and programs honoring the legacy of the Kings and their time and work together in Boston. MGAC worked closely with the artist and Embrace Boston to coordinate a network of prominent art production, design, planning, and construction teams.

We are incredibly honored to have played a part in helping Hank Willis Thomas and Embrace Boston to realize The Embrace and bring a rare new project to the Boston Common,” said Kris Collins, Managing Director, MGAC. “Willis Thomas is one of the most celebrated artists working in his generation and the importance of this project sits at the intersection of art, culture, and societal change, and is historically significant. This new monument, dedicated to love, recognizes and celebrates American heroes of the civil rights movement, it is an incredibly powerful symbol to all humans, and is a critical part of Boston’s identity.”

MGAC helped manage the public approval process for The Embrace, which involved special permissions for constructing a new monument in the Boston Common, the first such installation in more than 30 years. The project was commissioned by Embrace Boston and is being gifted to the Boston Arts Commission. The approval process also included approvals and close coordination with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Friends of the Public Garden as part of the three-year project.

Walla Walla Foundry in Washington state was chosen by the artist and MGAC to produce the bronze elements of the 45,000-pound, 20-foot-tall, 25-foot-wide sculpture. The foundry also installed the sculpture at the Common, after transporting it across the U.S. with five tractor trailers. The installation on site took 14 days and required a 200-ton crane and other heavy equipment to assemble pieces and make the final welded connections on site.

Working with the leading design firm on the project, MASS Design Group, Willis Thomas situated The Embrace within a tiled plaza, encircled by a Peace Walk designed to inspire reflection among visitors. Boston’s WES Construction built the footings, stone benches, pavers, and lighting that surround the monument.

Willis Thomas and Embrace Boston held a public groundbreaking for the project on April 27, 2022, Coretta Scott King’s 95th birthday.

MGAC has helped facilitate more than 30 public art installations since 2006, and this sector represents a growing facet of the firm’s business.

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