Finalists Chosen, Site Recommended for Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art in Cambridge

1/6/20204 years ago

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Finalists Chosen, Site Recommended for Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art in Cambridge

Public Invited to a Community Forum Jan. 7, 2020

Cambridge, MA – Plans for a public artwork in Cambridge to celebrate the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment are moving forward with the selection of four artist-finalists to develop proposals. The City has allocated $300,000 for the project. 

August 2020 will mark the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. The City of Cambridge’s Nineteenth Amendment Centennial Public Art Committee has recommended the artwork be located on Cambridge Common, the 16-acre National Historic Landmark park. The Committee will work with the Cambridge Historical Commission to obtain formal approval to site the artwork in this historic space. 

The Committee is committed to commissioning art that recognizes the representative story of the Nineteenth Amendment and highlights the contributions of underrepresented Cambridge women. The Committee also aims for the project to address the ongoing struggle for voting rights and the complexity and contradictions in the story of Women’s Suffrage. 

The City of Cambridge will hold a community forum about the project on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Cambridge Senior Center, 806 Massachusetts Ave. The public is invited to join the discussion on the proposed new public artwork on Cambridge Common and share their thoughts on:

• What stories can the artwork tell?

• How can Cambridge speak to the importance of voting rights? and

• Why is the Cambridge Common significant to you?

“There is no more fitting place for a work of art that commemorates women’s entry into the public sphere than here in the Cambridge Common,” said historian Barbara Berenson, a member of the Centennial Committee and author of "Massachusetts in the Woman Suffrage Movement," at the Cambridge Historical Commission meeting on Nov. 7, 2019. “The suffrage campaign should be remembered in the Cambridge Common, a site that commemorates other important freedom fighters … By choosing the Cambridge Common, this City would send future generations a clear and unambiguous message of the importance of inclusivity, civic participation, and self-government.”

The four artist-finalists, chosen from 694 profiles in the City’s public art registry, will be paid to develop concept proposals for a permanent installation to honor the Nineteenth Amendment and to highlight the contributions of underrepresented Cambridge women. The four finalists are: 

• Azra Aksamija of Cambridge

• Franka Diehnelt with Claudia Reisenberger, aka Merge Conceptual Design, of Santa Monica, California

• Mags Harries and Lajos Heder of Cambridge

• Nora Valdez of Boston 

Finalists are expected to submit proposals in spring 2020. These plans will be displayed for a period of public feedback. The Committee aims to select a winning project by August 2020, when the City of Cambridge will celebrate the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. Fabrication of the selected artwork is expected to take several years. 

Cambridge is a city steeped in history, and its residents were involved in the Women's Suffrage Movement from the outset. The Cambridge Woman's Suffrage League was formed in 1886, becoming the first of many area organizations dedicated to winning the vote and advancing women's equality and joining a number of state and nation organizations. Pro-suffrage rallies were held in locations all over the City in 1915 leading up to a statewide ballot referendum on the question of granting women the right to vote. In 1918, the City Council passed a resolution in favor of the Nineteenth Amendment's passage. The City of Cambridge looks forward to celebrating this history and its continued importance in 2020. 

For more information, contact Jennifer Mathews, Assistant to the City Manager, at 617-349-4300 or or visit