Chicago’s First Public Art Project to Honor Suffrage Leaders – On the Wings of Change – Makes its Debut in the Wabash Arts Corridor

On the Wings of Change

The Chicago Womxn’s Suffrage Tribute Committee, in conjunction with the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) at Columbia College Chicago, is pleased to announce the completion of a new mural celebrating women and the work of local activists in obtaining the right to vote and the modern struggle for equality. 

On the Wings of Change, created by artist Diosa (Jasmina Cazacu), is located on the south wall of 33 Ida B. Wells Drive building on the Columbia College Chicago campus. It tells the story of women’s activism through portraiture and is the first large-scale public history tribute in the city of Chicago to celebrate local suffragists who participated in the decades-long fight for women’s full inclusion in our democracy.  It features ten of the movement’s leaders from the Chicago area and a representation of the future of female leadership. 

The ten women featured are: Jane Addams, Myra Bradwell, Mary Livermore, Catharine Waugh McCulloch, Agnes Nestor, Grace Wilbur Trout, Mary Fitzbutler Waring, Ida B. Wells, Frances Willard, and Fannie Barrier Williams. More about them can be found on the WAC website. Catharine Waugh McCulloch and Frances Willard both called Evanston home.

A planned sister mural, created by artist Dorian Sylvain, will be a text-based accompaniment to the suffrage portrait mural and will reference the struggle for equality and women’s public voice that continues to this day. Its location is still being determined.

About Chicago Women’s Activism

Chicago area women were critical in the suffrage movement throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. They articulated strategies and developed techniques that played a significant role in state and national campaigns. The campaign for women’s voting rights in Illinois began in 1869 with the founding of the first woman’s suffrage organization in the state. In 1913 Illinois became the first state east of the Mississippi to give women the right to vote. In 1919, Illinois was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment.

About Wabash Arts Corridor

Since 2016, the Wabash Arts Corridor has had a focus of diversity, equity and inclusion, and hosting one of the largest street art and public art collections of womxn and BIPOC artists. 

About the Artist

Diosa (Jasmina Cazacu) is a Spanish-Romanian painter based out of Chicago, IL. She uses surreal, dreamlike imagery to create fantastical scenes that dare her audience to challenge their perceptions, question reality, and appreciate the magic that is always flourishing beneath the surface of the mundane. Diosa’s pieces ultimately function as social critiques exploring themes such as feminism & social politics. The topic of femininity is prevalent throughout Diosas’s work; her audience is continually challenged to consider an analytic approach to its concepts of and interactions with the feminine.

About the Chicago Womxn’s Suffrage Tribute Committee 

The Chicago Womxn’s Suffrage Tribute Committee was formed in 2020 to honor the work of Illinois women for voting and other rights for women, and to ensure that the stories of women’s activism are not forgotten. The focus of the committee is to create public art projects that will reach wide audiences and serve to mark the work of women activists in public spaces and venues. The Chicago Suffrage Murals are one of the projects they commissioned. Others include having historic markers installed at four different women’s suffrage sites in the state. They seek to create state-wide recognition of female political trailblazers through public art and other projects.

Chicago Womxn’s Suffrage Tribute Committee members – Meg Duguid, Michelle Duster, Catherine Mardikes, Kris Nesbitt, Lori Osborne (Director, Evanston Women’s History Project), Neysa Page-Lieberman

Image courtesy: Sandra Steinbrecher