A statue honoring Cincinnati civil rights activist Marian Spencer is underway. While Cincinnati already has several mythical representations of women, this would be the first statue of a real woman. Spencer was the first African American woman elected to Cincinnati City Council (1983) and the first female president of the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP (1981). She led the campaign to desegregate Coney Island swimming pools in the 1950s when her children were denied entry based on their skin color. Her subsequent lawsuit lead to integration. In addition, Spencer also fought to desegregate Cincinnati public schools. Spencer passed away this year at 99.
Earlier this year, Alicia Schneider, the Committee Chair of the Women’s City Club, approached Spencer’s friend and biographer, Dot Christensen and asked her if Spencer would like to have a statue made in her honor. Marian Spencer supported the idea. The Women’s City Club set up a Spencer Statue Fund at Fifth Third Bank. The group hopes to raise $125,000.
Local Cincinnati sculptor Tom Tsuchiya was commissioned to make the statue. Tsuchiya is known for the statues of Reds players featured outside the Great American Ball Park. The statue will be a life-size rendition of her during her city council days with arms outstretched and two portrayals of modern children. Tsuchiya wanted to depict Marian in an authentic way. He said, “I decided against a single figure. That kind of statue is mounted high and it’s meant to be imposing, looking down on everyone. Marian wasn’t like that. She was a person of the people.” He added, “It’s also 2/3 of a circle with the figures’ hands outstretched so that people can walk up to it and complete the circle.”
Exact Metrology personnel with Tom Tsuchiya (in the middle)
Noah Branscum, from Exact Metrology, scanned the clay model of the figures using the GOM ATOS Triple Scanner. The ATOS triple scan is a high resolution, optical digitizer that delivers rapid and precise 3D measuring data for the optimization of design processes. Thus, it improves industrial production processes. ATOS sensors are used in several industries for the inspection of parts such as: sheet metals, tools and dies, turbine blades, prototypes and injection molded and pressure die cast parts. It offers advantages in measuring reflective surfaces or objects with complex indentations. The software of the sensor is continuously monitoring the calibration status, the transformation accuracy, environmental changes and part movement to ensure the quality of the measuring data.
Ronnie Hensley used Geomagic Wrap to make the scan data (mesh file .stl) water-tight and scale it to actual size. Geomagic Wrap enables users to transfer point cloud data, probe data and import 3D formats into 3D polygon meshes for use in manufacturing, design, entertainment, archeology and analysis. The software intelligently processes complex point cloud data to revolutionize the way digital design and manufacturing is performed. It also revolutionized 3D printing, prototyping, and engineering. Tom then took the files from Exact Metrology and supplied them to other shops to build the statues.
The statue will be located in the Women’s Committee Garden of Smale Park. Spencer will be facing due south, looking at the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is right behind the statue and a playground in located to the west. The statue is expected to be presented June 28, 2020 on what would have been Marian Spencer’s 100th birthday.