Art Work by Women at Yale Chosen for the Massachusetts State House

"H E A R US," a work of public art by Yale School of Art faculty members, has been selected as a permanent installation in the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

“H E A R US,” a work of public art by Yale School of Art faculty members, has been selected as a permanent installation in the Massachusetts State House in Boston.

Professor Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Lecturer Susan Sellers collaborated on the project. Representing the historic contributions of women to public life in Massachusetts, this new artwork was commissioned, after a national search, by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and was chosen from among six finalists.

“H E A R US” honors six women who have played significant roles in Massachusetts history: Dorothea Dix, Florence Luscomb, Mary Kenney O’Sullivan, Sarah Parker Remond, Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin and Lucy Stone.

The work consists of six marble panels-all measuring approximately 2 feet by 5 feet 6 inches-with a bronze bust of each woman, cast from period photographs, mounted into each panel. Two quotations from each of these historic figures are etched into the marble, and the wall behind the panels is papered in a repeating pattern of legislative documents associated with causes the women championed.

The “mixed media portrait gallery,” as the artists describe their work, will be installed permanently on a wall beside one of the two main entrances of the Bulfinch State House.

The first tenured woman in the Yale School of Art, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville has been creating public art for more than 20 years. Generally focussed on women, her work has invited local communities to become involved in their own history. This is her first project of public art for an indoor space. Her choice to collaborate with a partner on the project was, she said, “in keeping with the spirit of feminist alliance.”

Susan Sellers, is a founding partner of 2X4, a multidisciplinary design studio in New York with clients that include Knoll, The New York Times, National Geographic and the Whitney Museum of Art. She has served as critic in Yale’s department of graphic design since 1997.

“HEAR US” will be dedicated at the State House on October 19 at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature biographer and political commentator Doris Kearns Goodwin and Massachusetts Supreme Court Judge Margaret Marshall, among other speakers.

Share this with Facebook Share this with X Share this with LinkedIn Share this with Email Print this

Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345