Jane DeDecker’s Latest Sculpture a Monument to Suffragettes
Jane DeDecker is one of the very talented artists who have chosen to live and work in Loveland, Colorado. Jane’s work can be found throughout the city, but also around the country in various Public Art collections.
The monument will be installed in Central Park in New York City in 2020 to mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote.
The artist titled her suffragette monument sculpture “Every Word We Utter” after a quote from Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
“Every word we utter, every act we perform … are wafted into enumerable other circles …” Elizabeth Cady Stanton reflecting on the life of Lucretia Mott.
While DeDecker’s sculpture was not selected for the Central Park monument, there is a good chance that it will be installed in Washington, D.C.
“Every Word We Utter” will stand 22 feet high when completed. It features Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells and Harriot Stanton Blatch.
Fund-raising Efforts Under Way
$700,000 in donations is needed in order to create and install the suffragette monument sculpture DeDecker has envisioned. It is her dream to memorialize these women, and this important moment in Women’s History in the United States.
Friends, family members, history lovers, and those who appreciate public art are all making donations.
In addition to the funds, supporters also need to find a legislator willing to sponsor a bill to have the monument placed on the National Mall.
Some of the locations that are being considered for the sculpture include the National Archives where the 19th Amendment is kept and the Alice Paul House, and the US Supreme Court building.
Jody Shadduck-McNally is heading up the effort to get the sculpture funded and placed in time for the 100th anniversary.
Shadduck-McNally told Pamela Johnson of the Loveland Reporter-Herald that there are 152 sculptures placed within National Parks Service properties. Of those, only 3 are dedicated to women–and only one is of a woma.
According to Kyle Dallabetta, the sculptor’s husband and member of the team determined to get this monument erected, there are 5,575 historical sculptures around the country. Only 10 percent (559) are dedicated to women
London (UK) beat the US to the punch with its own suffragette monument sculpture. That piece was installed in 1970. Created by a man, that piece depicts a scroll honoring “courage and perseverance of all those men and women” who worked to give women the right to vote. No image of a woman is in the sculpture.
Two additional sculptures in London, and one in Leicester, honor specific suffragettes and do bear their likenesses.
Australia has 4 sculptures honoring the suffragette movement in that country.
US Suffragette Sculpture Moved to Broom Closet
There is a beautiful sculpture in the Capital Rotunda in Washington, D.C. honoring the suffragettes. Carved from Carrara Marble, the piece features the likenesses of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Lucretia Mott.
The unveiling ceremony was held in the Capitol Rotunda on February 15, 1921, the 101st anniversary of the birth of Susan B. Anthony, and was attended by representatives of over 70 women’s organizations.
In this sculpture, the portraits are copies of individual busts Adelaide Johnson carved for the Court of Honor of the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893.
According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the sculpture originally bore this inscription: “Woman first denied a soul, then called mindless, now arisen, declaring herself an entity to be reckoned,”
The day after the sculpture was unveiled in the Rotunda it was moved underground to the crypt. And Congress ordered the inscription be removed.
“The crypt was originally intended for Washington’s remains, though it never housed them,” says Joan Wages, the president and CEO of the National Women’s History Museum. “At the time it was a service closet, with brooms and mops and the suffrage statue.”
Like DeDecker’s sculpture, fundraising was required to move the piece to its rightful place in the Rotunda. Donors from around the country rallied when Congress refused to pay for the relocation. Finally on May 14, 1997 the sculpture was moved to its current location.
Suffragette Monument Sculpture and the Ripple Effect
Part of what sets DeDecker’s work apart from the portrait sculpture is the scale. The portrait sculpture is a much more intimate work. Another distinction is the location. Although now in an honored spot, it is indoors and American women deserve to have a fitting monument outdoors as well.
And while Johnson’s work is fabulous, it features only three women, all white women. DeDecker’s work points to the fact that women of color worked side-by-side with white women to secure the vote for all women in the USA. In addition, her piece represents all the women in the movement.
DeDecker describes the her monument as base on a water drop and the ripples it creates.
“It’s based on ripples,” said DeDecker. “The first ripple was the women who dreamed. The second ripple is the women who first voted. The third ripple is contemporary women or women in the past who strived to make changes.”
The ripples are more than just a symbolic element in the sculpture. Raised in bronze, the ripples will contain the signatures of all the women involved in the suffragette movement.
DeDecker and Shaduck-McNally recognize that they have a lot of work ahead of them. But it is worth the effort in order to ensure recognition for the women who changed the constitution and had such an impact on all of us today.
The piece sends “a message to every woman that they do have a voice and they can use their voice,” DeDecker said. “I hope that the monument inspires young women … little girls,” she said.
Thanks to the following for information contained in this post:
Sculptor Jane DeDecker, for her beautiful work and sharing the video description of this sculpture on YouTube.
The Reporter-Herald, Loveland, Colorado’s newspaper, and staff writer Pamela Johnson, and photographer Jenny Sparks for their article on this sculpture by Jane DeDecker. Pamela’s article provides more details about the women behind the movement who are depicted in DeDecker’s sculpture.