Alice in Wonderland? Yes. A real-life woman? Nope. Throughout Central Park, more than 70 statues stand erect. Twenty-three of them depict historical figures. Not one of them honors a “real woman.” The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund noticed this imbalance and sought to change it. Enter: a call for artists, 91 submissions, four completed proposals and the announcement of a winning sculpture by Meredith Bergmann.

 

Bergmann’s statue will portray Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, two significant figures in the women’s suffrage movement, working intently at a desk. A paper scroll, which will contain quotes from other significant women in history, overflows from their desk. It ends at a nearby ballot box – their end goal. Women today, whose present and future was paved by the help of the women whose quotes are on that scroll, now have the right to vote.

 

Bergmann’s sculpture is a reminder that the right to vote is a privilege. One that women fought for, and finally won, in 1920. It is a reminder that every chance we get to vote should be embraced.

 

Through a #MonumentalWomen campaign, the group aims to raise the $1.5 million needed to commission, install, and maintain the statue. New York Life provided a $500,000 matching grant to help grow those funds for the statue. According to Heather Nesle, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility: “We are proud to be the lead funder for this historic project. It is an investment that makes sense to us on so many levels—as a company that champions diversity, has deep roots in NYC and a strong connection to Susan B. Anthony, who used the cash value of her New York Life insurance policy in 1900 to guarantee admission for the first female students into the University of Rochester.”

 

Several Girl Scouts of Greater New York (GSGNY) troops even got involved by pledging some of their cookie earnings and raising awareness for the project in the Park. GSGNY CEO Meridith Maskara said: “We’re thrilled that young girls visiting Central Park will soon see examples of female leadership among the many statues there.” Personally, we’re looking forward to when these girls can become registered voters!

 

Bergmann’s artistic background includes Art Students League of New York as well as many monument and memorial projects, from the Boston Women’s Memorial to the September 11th memorial at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  The bronze women’s suffrage sculpture will be installed at Central Park in 2020, appropriately the year of the centennial anniversary of the women’s suffrage. It measures 14 feet high, with a diameter of 11 feet, and will proudly soar over its visitors. With Sir Walter Scott and Shakespeare, this statue will be located along the Park’s famous Literary Walk.

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