When RIOC Tapped Amanda Matthews For New Nellie Bly Monument

RIOC Picks Amanda Matthews for Nellie Bly Monument

“The Girl Puzzle” will be located in Lighthouse Park

By David Stone

Roosevelt Island News

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) selected Amanda Matthews/Prometheus Art to construct the Nellie Bly Monument. The installation lands on the northern end of Roosevelt Island at Lighthouse Park.

Recently, Lighthouse Park hosted FIGMENT NYC 2019. considered a big win for RIOC and its art-loving leader Susan Rosenthal.

Amanda Matthews Picked for Nellie Bly Monument

Matthews’s sculpture is The Girl Puzzle, and it highlights Nellie Bly’s talents, conviction and compassion. In 1887, Bly exposed the horrors of the Blackwell Island Insane Asylum.

Selection Committee: Amanda Matthews Picked for Nellie Bly Monument

RIOC asked a blue ribbon panel to review applications…

  •  Susan Rosenthal, CEO/President RIOC 
  • Jonna Carmona Graf- AVP Capital Planning & Projects, RIOC
  • Janet Fasano – Project Manager, Capital Planning and Projects, RIOC
  • Erica Spencer El- Director of Community Affairs, RIOC
  • Judith Berdy – President – The Roosevelt Island Historical Society
  • Lynne Strong Shinozaki – President, Roosevelt Island Residents Association
  • Tad Sudol – President – Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association 

…and they picked Amanda Matthews for the Nellie Bly Monument.

“I am proud of the selection committee’s dedication to choosing such a passionate artist to honor the accomplishments of a woman who was truly ahead of her time,” said Susan Rosenthal, President and CEO of RIOC.

“The committee, made up of RIOC employees and community leaders, unanimously selected this bold installation that will not only represent Nellie Bly’s time here, but her impact on the world.”

In the end, the Selection Committee picked Amanda Matthews for the Nellie Bly Monument over impressive competition.

The installation allows viewer to enter a long walkway where they encounter four, seven-foot-tall female faces, representing different ages and ethnicities, cast in bronze.

A fifth face at the far end of the walkway will represent Nellie Bly.

Each face shows the depth of emotion and the complexity of being broken and repaired, which was significant to the conditions Ms. Bly encountered when she posed as a mental patient. COVID-19 delayed construction, originally expected in 2020.

“It is my great honor to represent Nellie Bly’s life and legacy,” said artist Amanda Matthews, “and to celebrate her passion for diversity and inclusion. Her voice remains timely and significant today.”


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