“Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less.”
Myra Pollack Sadker
Of the roughly 7000 recorded public art works in our country, a mere 10% are dedicated to historical female figures, and many of these are allegorical. The lack of female role models depicted in public art sends a message that women have not participated in the forming of our nation.
I believe it is very important to give a face to the women who helped bring our Nation where it is today and inspire todays girls to be leaders in tomorrows world. Their likeness and achievements need to be recognized.
Real women with real initiatives for a positive change in the equality and what it means to be an American citizen.
Ripples of Change
Seneca Falls, NY
Ripples of Change depicts four notable women from the Seneca region. Each of these women has their own connection to Seneca Falls as well as to the women’s empowerment message we are trying to convey. The four women stand at their water’s edge of change for women’s rights. situations and backgrounds from which these women came are diverse. Each answers their own call to effect change. Their individual actions merge into a unified movement that promots, honors and expands the rights of women. Ripples of Change highlights how individual efforts coalesce into a unified call to action.
Every Word We Utter
The National Women’s Monument
When a water drop impacts the water it pushes waves outward and then rebounds upward as a smaller droplet. This droplet, called a daughter droplet – gains height – then falls back to the water in what is called a coalescent cascade. The coalescent cascade not only offered a structural way to re-envision the placement of the figures, but even more, it uncovered new meaning in the design concept that captures the height and breadth of the suffragists’ work. As Stanton said at the Second Women’s Rights Convention in Rochester, NY, “Woman herself must do this work – for woman alone can understand the height, and the depth, the length and the breadth of her own degradation and woe.”
Dr. Annie Alexander
As an artist, I respectfully wonder how Annie Alexander reached so many needs within the community of Charolette.
I have been inspired and deeply moved by the strength and dedication of Dr. Lieutenant Annie Alexander. The legacy of this devoted woman as an advocate for the rights and protection of women, children, and the poor that lived in the community is indeed honorable.
Sister Catheryn McCauley
I sculpted Sister Catherine McAuley, “Tender Courage,” for the Sisters of Mercy in St. Louis, Missouri. The nuns who had been mentored by Sister Catherine offered me stories that helped me to get a sense of who the founder was, and how her mission still courses through these sisters’ life work. They live Catherine’s words, her love, her mission, and keep her spirit alive, and just keep going.
I sculpted “Oceans to Fly” as a submission for a design request for the Statuary Hall in Washington DC. Disappointingly, the committee chose a male sculptor to depict this strong woman; nonetheless, my design was later commissioned by a client who donated this sculpture to the Amelia Earhart Elementary School in Alameda, California, near the airport where Amelia took flight on her last voyage. Amelia Earhart, “Oceans to Fly” inspires the youth of that community to be unafraid, and just keep going.
Daisy Gatson Bates
Sojourner Truth was a preacher, an abolitionist, and an activist who was not only known for her lively speaking and singing abilities, but also for “stirring the waters” to inspire others to be a part of the change towards equality for all. In the monument, Sojourner will be confidently stepping up, stately ascending the podium, and preparing to speak as she rises. Like bellows, she inhales and exhales to ignite women to step up and “turn the world right side up again!”
This sculpted image of Sojourner, will portray her determined strength and conviction of truth. Her presence in this group of women is that of personal strength, her own “intellect” is what rallies other women to rise up with her to make a change, to claim the rights that women were given to them by God not by man.
Sojourner challenges us, as women, to rise up out of an acquiescence of helplessness and subjugation and find our own clarity of voice and purpose in our lives. Her life created ripples that we still feel today and inspire all women to take action: “I want women to have their rights and while the water is stirring, I’ll step into the pool.”
Martha Coffin Wright
Martha Coffin Wright’s conservative neighbors considered her “a very dangerous woman.” She understood that even the small decisions you make have great consequences, and it was with such conviction she made her own contributions to the ripples of change. Martha spent her whole life devoted to activism and fighting for the abolitionist movement and women’s rights.
In the monument Martha is seated with her knitting in her lap and her hand defiantly on her hip. Beside Martha in the sculpture is a sheep drinking from a pool of water. This quiet action of the sheep begins to create the ripples of change to represent the impact of the historic Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention that Martha helped to facilitate. The sheep is also symbolic of the abolitionist movement, for Martha and her fellow Quakers refused to wear cotton, a product of slavery. This deliberate “small” act to produce textiles rather than slave-produced cotton gave rise to the Seneca Woolen Mills.
This sculpted image presents Martha as the thoughtful, strong minded, focused individual she was. Although Martha is seated, her feet are restless and move outside of the constraints put on women of her day.
Martha’s Coffin Wright is honored in this sculpture for the dedication that she and other suffragists had in promoting equality for all and securing women’s right to vote with an Amendment to the constitution. Martha’s voice in the movement rang clear, “Let us now work in unison for the passage of the (16th) Amendment and in our final triumph, forget all past differences.”
Martha Hughes Cannon
I have been truly inspired and deeply moved by the strength and empathy of Martha Hughes Cannon. As a mother who fled out of consideration for her family and her religion, a doctor taking care of women and children and a Senator who cared for the health of the citizens of Utah, Martha dedicated her life to the well being of others.
The way she stands with her shoulders turned to the viewer creates a graceful sweep, simple and elegant. Her skirt is not overwhelmingly full. The bodice of her gathered blouse radiates around her face, and draws the viewer to engage in her soft yet determined demeanor. She holds in her hands the focus of her life, profession and family; three roses for her children and a stethoscope a symbol of her contributions to her community.
Rosallie Gardiner Jones
The unwavering courage and dedication Rosalie Gardiner Jones to the positive changes for women is indeed something to be remembered and honored in a monumental tribute. “General” Rosalie Gardiner Jones lived her life in accordance to her own rules and guidelines. She was known as a can-do-girl who believed that a woman should be trusted to do by and for themselves. Rosalie’s passion for the rights of women were steadfast and focused. This young activist expected the same dedication from the women who marched beside her in continuing the fight for positive change for women, while focusing on changing the constitution, to in fact ‘vote with their feet’. Rosalie knew that to convince men to get behind their cause she had to appeal to their intellect. Both men and women needed to be convinced that there was a benefit for all Americans in allowing women the right to cast their vote. “General” Rosalie Gardiner Jones and her ‘pilgrims’ marched long and hard for suffrage and the rights of women. In the challenging infamous hike from the Bronx to Albany “General” Jones led a group of women over 200 miles in the cold winter of December 1912 in their devoted championing for women’s rights. She and her fellow comrades showed what a motivated group of Americans can accomplish in their focused efforts in seeking their ultimate victory for the good of all.
I have entitled my design concept for the Cold Spring Harbor State Park The Long March. The depiction I have created of this New York icon is realistic and her personal history which is a gift to our nation will unfold around her image. The Long March will capture that youthful vibrant spirit engaged in activism.
These Rights Are For Me
I have entitled the design concept that I have created for the community of Lexington and Fayette County These Rights Are For Me.
I feel it is very important to give a face to the suffragists who helped to change history in the Constitution of the U.S. which is why the depictions I have created of these Kentucky suffragist are realistic and the inscriptions below their feet will contain their own words. We have gone too long without honoring the actual women of this history making Women’s Movement.
Francis Willard Munds
Following in the footsteps of countless other suffragists Frances Willard Munds helped to motivate, lead, and convince both men and women to not only get the suffrage initiative on the ballot but to persuade male voters to support the initiative. Her perseverance won the the right to vote for women in Arizona and set her on a path to become the Arizona State Senator. The legacy of this inspiring suffragist is astounding. As a senator Frances Willard Munds continued to fight for the rights and protection of women and children. Frances dedicated her life to leading and inspiring others to continue to champion for the well being of others. The sculpture I am envisioning of Frances Willard Munds is of this convincing suffragist creating an imapct that is still felt today. Cast in bronze and fabricated at my studio, with the help of my family, this piece will be an honor to create.
Harriet Tubman was reverantly known as the Moses of Her People, and she parted the waters for so many slaves to reach freedom. Harriet was an abolitionist and activist who knew no fear. As a runaway slave, she returned thirteen times to free her family and dozens of other enslaved people. Harriet used Seneca as a stop on the Underground Railroad, but eventually settled in nearby Auburn, New York.
Once she was free herself, Harriet made the conscious decision to step down into the dangers of slavery to help her fellow man even though she was not ‘free’ herself as a woman. Harriet was known to sing the religious spiritual “Wade in the Water” to fellow slaves; the lyrics told those seeking freedom to abandon the path and move into the water to avoid capture.
The monument portrays her as a mature, confident, determined woman, not hesitating in her quest to help all slaves to freedom. Harriet Tubman’s image in this sculpture is that of a woman stepping forward and leading the way. Her staff touches down into the water below and creates her ripples of change.