‘Fearless Girl’ Clears Another Hurdle in Her Ongoing Quest to Remain Outside the New York Stock Exchange

Now the final decision about her fate goes to the city's Public Design Commission.

A man sits next to the fearless girl statue next to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. Photo: Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images.
A man sits next to the fearless girl statue next to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on April 20, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City. Photo: Johannes Eisele / AFP via Getty Images.

Last month, the fate of the Fearless Girl statue outside the New York Stock Exchange was thrown into doubt when the permit securing its place downtown expired.

Now, it looks like the sculpture may stay in its place—so long as its owners overcome one last legal obstacle.   

Yesterday, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to renew the permit for the 4-foot-tall, 250-pound statue, keeping it in its current location across from the Stock Exchange for another three years. The decision was unanimous, with all 11 voting members of the commission in agreement.

However, it is not the only agency that has a say. Now, the issue goes before the Public Design Commission, which will vote on the issue at one of its next meetings, set to take place in January and February, according to NBC New York

Whereas the Landmarks Preservation Commission merely decides the location, the Public Design Commission weighs in on the necessity of the artwork itself, including its context and symbolic value.

Its future location isn’t the only question mark looming over Fearless Girl.

The sculpture’s creator, Kristen Visbal, is engaged in an ongoing legal battle with State Street Corporation, the financial services company that commissioned it, over who owns the intellectual property.

At the center of the dispute is the issue of replication, as Visbal wants to make and sell copies of her sculpture, but State Street says she signed away the right to do so.

Earlier this month, Visbal claimed that the contract State Street submitted to the city upon commissioning the artwork grants the artist intellectual property rights. The corporation, meanwhile, says it has a copy of the contract that limits the artist’s control over the sculpture.

The two parties are engaged in court-requested mediation to settle the dispute.

Fearless Girl was first installed on International Women’s Day in 2017. At the time it was located at New York’s Bowling Green park, staring down Wall Street’s Charging Bull.

Visbal’s sculpture was relocated to its current location in 2018, at which time State Street secured a three-year permit. That permit expired on November 29 of this year.


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