'Fearless Girl' statue to stay opposite New York Stock Exchange for now

The bronze statue standing defiantly in front of the 'Charging Bull' since 2017 will remain there for at least a year

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The bronze Fearless Girl statue that was installed in front of New York City's Charging Bull in 2017 will stay opposite the New York Stock Exchange at least until early next year, a city board decided on Monday.

City officials are trying to decide a permanent place for the popular symbol of female empowerment.

Members of the Public Design Commission granted an 11-month permit extension and said they would spend the next six months exploring a way for New York City to take ownership of the statue.

It is the subject of litigation between artist Kristen Visbal and State Street Global Advisors, the Boston asset-management company that commissioned it.

“We today, the Public Design Commission, cannot make this a permanent piece of art,” commission president Signe Nielsen said.

“We can urge that steps be taken to enable this work to be considered for the public collection.”

The statue of the spunky young girl was supposed to be a temporary installation when State Street commissioned it in 2017 to urge higher representation of women on corporate boards.

But permits to keep it on display were extended several times when it became a major tourist attraction.

Fearless Girl was moved to its location in December 2018 and has continued to draw selfie-taking visitors there.

Visbal, meanwhile, began selling replicas of the statue around the world.

State Street, which had an ownership contract with the artist, sued Visbal alleging the replica sales breached the agreement, and she countersued, saying the company was infringing on her rights.

“The commission should be aware that State Street has sued me, which makes it impossible for them to act as fair agents on my behalf,” she told design commission members over Zoom.

Visbal urged the city to take ownership of the piece.

“I am convinced the only way artists’ rights can be honoured and acknowledged is if the city owns the work,” she said.

Visbal and State Street indicated support for the board's vote to renew the statue's temporary permit while working towards a permanent solution.

“As the artist and the creator of the Fearless Girl statue, I am beyond grateful to New York City and the Public Design Commission for hearing my concerns," she said.

"I pledge to work with the City to identify a fair and reasonable solution in the coming six months.”

A State Street representative said: “We are appreciative the Fearless Girl statue will remain at her current location in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

"With the outcome of today’s hearing with the City of New York’s Public Design Commission, we will work together with the Department of Transportation, PDC and the artist regarding our desire to keep the Fearless Girl statue at her current location for an extended period.”

Updated: April 11, 2022, 10:25 PM