Revolutionary Women of Color Honored with Art Installation at Austin Public Library

The series of mosaic portraits commemorate the struggles and successes of six female leaders of color from Austin

By Meher Qazilbash
Photos by Christina Castro
Legends Mosaics: Austin’s Courageous Female Leaders of Color
Mexic-Arte Museum's Executive Director, Sylvia Orozco.

With the pandemic amplifying conversations surrounding race and gender inequities, artists have been galvanized to critique our society and push for change. Such advocacy in art can be found in Austin Public Library’s new permanent installation, Legend Mosaics: Austin’s Courageous Female Leaders of Color.

The pieces honor six Austin women who have made our city a better place with their philanthropic contributions, including Dr. Martha Cotera, Dr. Teresa Lozano Long, Dr. Bertha Sadler Means, Sylvia Orozco, Cathay Revilla Vasquez and Peggy Vasquez. The uplifting installation was produced in a collaboration between Latinitas, Austin’s only bilingual STEM nonprofit for 20 years, and Austin artists Carmen Rangel, Lys Santamaria, Litzy Valdez, Lola Rodriguez and Veronica Ceci.

Civil rights activist Dr. Bertha Sadler Means is among the installation’s iconic honorees.

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Latinitas founder Laura Donnelly explains, “These women were fighting for equity in education, public leadership, the arts, technology and even public spaces long before the climate of listening we are experiencing now. They were the first of their communities to run for office, graduate with doctorate degrees and fight segregation in Austin’s most popular spaces.”

Members of STEM-focused organization Latinitas.

These wonderful mosaics commemorate the struggles and successes of individuals who improved their corner of the world the best they could. A visit to the installation becomes an opportunity to learn about those who paved the way to make Austin a city of opportunities and warmth, and to be ignited with an excitement to make your own contributions to the community.

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The works will remain on display at the Austin Central Library until later this month, where they will then be moved to another location in the Austin Public Library system.

Portrait of acclaimed community leader and author Martha Cotera.


Read More From the Wellness Issue | January 2022


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