Holly Yocom crouched down next to her 5-year-old daughter as they looked through opera glasses at the new mural unveiled Wednesday morning in downtown Salt Lake City.
Three generations of their family are represented in the 5,000-square-foot piece. Front and center, Harper can be seen handing a drawing she made of her mother to Holly, who is kneeling and looking into her daughter’s eyes. Above them is Holly’s mother, Bille Jean Martak.
“It took my breath away,” said Holly Yocom.
Seeing the “strong women” in the mural gives Holly “hope for the future” that one day her daughter will live in a world where a woman can be president of the United States, or she doesn’t have to worry about not having her voice heard among the men in a boardroom.
“She can be anything she wants to be,” said Yocom, who is director of Salt Lake County’s Department of Community Service.
More than 250 women from Utah’s past and present are featured in the “Utah Women 2020″ mural, at 37 W. 100 South on the east side of the Dinwoody building. Scott Anderson, president and CEO of Zions Bank, asked Jann Haworth, a Salt Lake City artist known for co-designing the iconic album cover for The Beatles “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” to create the piece to commemorate the major suffrage milestones this year.
On Valentine’s Day, people in the Beehive State celebrated the 150th anniversary of a Utah woman becoming the first to vote under an equal suffrage law in the United States. Aug. 6 brought the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibited discriminatory practices, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, that kept people of color from voting. And Wednesday marked the centennial of the 19th Amendment becoming law, expanding voting rights to women across the country.
“This mural is for me the most extraordinary of my career because of the arc of time during which it is being made,” Haworth said.
Over the past year, Haworth and her son, Alex Johnstone, worked with 178 people to create the piece. While about 30 of those involved are professional artists, the rest were community members, according to Haworth.
The collaborative project began with in-person workshops held at places such as YWCA Utah in Salt Lake City and Granary Arts in Ephraim. During the coronavirus pandemic, the sessions moved online, with Utahns submitting submit pieces from home. Some of the images came from artists as far away as Australia and Italy.
Contributors used stencils made from photographs to create the images. Haworth and Johnstone then sized and digitally arranged them into a collage, which was printed by Vision Graphics on nine 10-by-55-foot vinyl mesh banners and installed by Young Electric Sign Company.
“Despite the mural’s enormous size, it represents only a snapshot of the decades-long leadership and impact of Utah women,” said Anderson, who also helped found the Women’s Leadership Institute.
The women are politicians, educators, advocates, doctors, business leaders, community leaders, athletes, artists, singers, dancers, writers, pioneers, trailblazers, journalists, environmentalists and philanthropists.
There’s Seraph Young, the first woman to vote in Utah; Olene Walker, Utah’s only female governor; and Rep. Sandra Hollins, Utah’s first female Black state legislator. The mural also includes Olympic volleyball player Logan Tom, Utah Film Center founder Geralyn Dreyfous, pilot Betty Miller, anti-nuclear activist Margene Bullcreek, and former Salt Lake Tribune editor Jennifer Napier-Pearce. There are also a few duplicates in the mural, such as Martha Hughes Cannon, Utah’s first female state senator, and surgeon Rebecka L. Meyers.
State Sen. Daniel McCay, R-Riverton, questioned why there weren’t more Republican women featured.
In a series of tweets Thursday night, McCay mentioned several potential names, including two notable omissions: Becky Lockhart, Utah’s first female House speaker, and Mia Love, the first Black Republican woman in Congress.
Love, amplifying McCay’s thread, also raised objections.
“This mural has some pretty glaring omissions of Utah Republican women. By choosing not to recognize many notable women from our state who shattered the glass ceiling just because they had an R behind their name really undermines the message the mural claims to care about,” Love tweeted Friday afternoon.
In order to include women of different backgrounds, Haworth said they decided to include three to five people in each category.
“So, if we had 15 in politics, then we would not be able to have, say, three to five dancers, or three to five people in environmental activism and things of that sort,” she said.
Actually, there are at least a dozen politicians on the mural.
Besides Cannon, Walker and Hollins, other politicians on the mural are former U.S. Rep. Karen Shepherd, current state Rep. Karen Kwan, retiring state Rep. Patrice Arent, former state Sen. Pat Jones, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, Salt Lake City Councilwoman Ana Valdemoros, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, and two of Mendenhall’s predecessors: Deedee Corradini and Jackie Biskupski.
Of those 12 women, 11 are or were Democrats — though in Cannon’s time, the Democratic Party was considered more conservative than the Republicans.
Haworth said they did not look at political affiliation when creating the mural, but rather worked to include a wide range of work fields, diversity and ethnicity, countries of origin, economic diversity and religious diversity.
“If we really made a mural that was inclusive of every wonderful woman in this state, it would wrap around the city.” Haworth chuckled and added, “I’m up for it.”
The women included were selected through a “democratic process,” and the creators accepted suggestions in order to cover a wide spectrum. In addition to the “celebrities” on the mural, there is also a woman who’s experienced homelessness, single mothers and a woman killed by domestic violence, according to Haworth. Two faces were purposefully left blank so people could imagine their own selections in the piece.
Haworth said they plan to eventually add digital copies and backstories of the women on the mural’s website, womensmural.com. And the mural itself will be up for the foreseeable future.
When looking at the mural, Haworth said she hopes people think “about the fact that democracy is a work in progress.”
Here’s a key of the women included in the mural:
Section A: 1) Bettina Black, 2) Logan Tom, 3) Mercedes Smith, 4) Ariel Bybee, 5) Beckanne Sisk
Section B: 1) Virginia Tanner, 2) Minerva Teichert, 3) Cindy Kindred, 4) Rebecka L. Meyers, 5) Rebecka L. Meyers, 6) Jeanetta Williams, 7) Lisa Eccles, 8) Dee-Dee Darby-Duffin, 9) Harriet Hopf, 10) Sandra Hollins, 11) Unknown, 12) Pat Richards, 13) Marcia Ann Hadenfeldt, 14) Denise Lenahan, 15) Katie Jones-Nall, 16) Asaneth Adams, 17) Alexandra Harbold, 18) Betty Compson, 19) Ellis Reynolds Shipp, 20) Seagull
Section C: 1) Heidi Redd, 2) Geralyn Dreyfous, 3) Zitkála-Šá, 4) Ellen Meloy, 5) Sibylle Szaggars, 6) Diane Stewart, 7) Terry Tempest Williams, 8) Beverly Taylor Sorenson, 9) Laura Hurtado, 10) Ana Valdemoros, 11) Patrice Arent, 12) Liza Doran, 13) Mishka Banuri, 14) Katie Lee-Koven, 15) Jessica Farling, 16) Lisa DeSpain, 17) Ruth May Fox, 18) Erika George, 19) Kim Raff, 20) Sarah Pearce, 21) Vera Watanabe, 22) Brenda Candia-Lara, 23) Laurie Hopkins, 24) Noelle Cockett, 25) Diana Spencer, 26) Mae Timbimboo Parry, 27) Christine Kummer-Hardt, 28) Ashley Patterson, 29) Erika George, 30) Pilar Pobil, 31) Betty Miller, 32) Sharon Larsen, 33) Elizabeth Taylor, 34) Nadine Nibley, 35) Reva Beck Bosone, 36) Mary Anne Berzins, 37) Kathryn Bond Stockton, 38) Jamee Wheelwright, 39) Janet Wolf, 40) Esther Eggertsen Peterson, 41) Elizabeth “Tibby” Simmons, 42) Kimberli Cockerans, 43) Anne Jespersen, 44) Zoe the Riveter
Section D: 1) Gretchen Dietrich, 2) Amy Rees Anderson, 3) Jenny Wilson, 4) Erin Mendenhall, 5) Alex Hesse, 6) Jensie Anderson, 7) Neylan McBaine, 8) Elizabeth DeLong, 9) Jeanette Herbert, 10) Esther Landa, 11) Carol Hollowell, 12) Astrid Tuminez, 13) Betsy Burton, 14) Mary McCarthy, 15) Mona Woolsey, 16) Deanna Kepka, 17) Maria Estrada, 18) Christine Robinson, 19) Desdemona Stott Beeson, 20) Maud Fitch, 21) Brittney Nystrom, 22) Madeline Adkins, 23) Shuping Wang, 24) Anne Burkholder, 25) Kathy Peterson, 26) Anne Ewers, 27) Heather Belnap, 28) Seraph Young, 29) Katherine Fenton Nutter, 30) Rosie Rivera, 31) Jennifer Nii, 32) Margie Anderson, 33) Edith Melendez, 34) Lesly Allen, 35) Grace Jorgensen, 36) Jennifer Mayer-Glenn, 37) Crystal Maggelet, 38) Ann Cannon, 39) Barbara Toomer, 40) Samah Ibrahim, 41) Cydni Tetro, 42) Lona Mae Lauritzen, 43) Deedee Corradini, 44) Libby Gardner, 45) Georgia Lathouris Mageras, 46) Mary Ann Lee, 47) Cheryl Cluff, 48) Jena Woodbury
Section E: 1) Harper Yocom, 2) Holly Yocom, 3) Maude Adams, 4) Julie Jensen, 5) Jesselie Anderson, 6) Mary Malouf, 7) Susan Swartz, 8) Ruby Timms Price, 9) Fanny Blauer, 10) Jacki Zehner, 11) Gail Miller, 12) Jennie Froiseth, 13) Liz Owens, 14) Kelly Brooks, 15) Karen Shepherd, 16) Adrianna McGrath, 17) Sarah E. Anderson, 18) Eunice Tillahash Surveyor, 19) Lori Nay, 20) Blank head, 21) Mildred Berryman, 22) Deneece Huftalin, 23) Mignon Barker Richmond, 24) Ellen Selu, 25) Grace Stratton Airey, 26) Kuniko Terasawa, 27) Sandra Lanier, 28) Destiny Garcia, 29) Naja Pham Lockwood, 30) Phoebe Couzins, 31) Jennifer Davila, 32) Mara Rabin, 33) Linda C. Smith, 34) Angela Brown, 35) Mary Teasdale, 36) Anna Belle Weakley, 37) Nancy Borgenicht, 38) Ruby Chacon, 39) Jessica Wagstaff, 40) Amy Irvine, 41) Amy Jorgensen, 42) Lauren Scholnick
Section F: 1) Brittany Bowe, 2) Suzi Rittling, 3) Linda C. Smith, 4) Jennifer Napier-Pearce, 5) Franci Taylor, 6) Maud May Babcock, 7) Pamela Atkinson, 8) Anna Campbell Bliss, 9) Joan Woodbury, 10) Sarah Kimball, 11) Martha Hughes Cannon, 12) Elise Furer Musser, 13) Camille Winnie, 14) Lovern Robertson, 15) Billie Jean Martak, 16) Maureen O’Hara Ure, 17) Incarnación Florez, 18) Felicia Baca, 19) Renee Faatz, 20) Charlotte Ives Cobb Godbe Kirby, 21) Helen Zeese Papanikolas, 22) Emily S. Richards, 23) Diane Heubusch, 24) Amberlie Phillips, 25) Jane Manning James, 26) Amy Brown Lyman, 27) Uta von Schwedler, 28) Emmeline B. Wells, 29) Sally Kanosh, 30) May Swenson, 31) Kendra Tomsic, 32) Ella Gilmore Peacock, 33) Maria Estrada, 34) Dolores Eccles, 35) Allison Anderson, 36) Stephanie Martini, 37) Pat Jones, 38) Belle London, 39) Violet Bear Allen, 40) Olene Walker, 41) Fran Pruyn, 42) Carol Dehler
Section G: 1) Nancy Tessman, 2) Susanna Bransford, 3) Jennifer Jordan, 4) Kim Martinez, 5) Virginia Pearce, 6) Jennifer Boyce, 7) Darlene McDonald, 8) Kym Buttschardt, 9) Carolyn Tanner Irish, 10) Eddie Foyle, 11) Kristen Ries, 12) Emma McVicker, 13) Anne Cullimore Decker, 14) Mary Lucille Perkins Bankhead, 15) Geraldine E. King, 16) Jayne Luke, 17) Fanny Brooks, 18) Courtney Giles, 19) Unknown child, 20) Cynthia Fleming, 21) Ruth Watkins, 22) Megan Hallett, 23) Sarah George, 24) Karen Kwan, 25) Juanita Brooks, 26) Kasandra VerBrugghen, 27) Dee Milo, 28) Luna Banuri, 29) Alberta Henry, 30) Ivy Baker Priest, 31) Myrne Collier, 32) Eliza R. Snow, 33) Blank head, 34) Katharine Coles, 35) Martha Hughes Cannon
Section H: 1) Nora, 2) Carolyn Shelton, 3) Jackie Biskupski, 4) Amy Redford, 5) Virginia “Jinnah” Kelson, 6) Eve Jackson, 7) Alice Kasai, 8) Aden Ross, 9) Yolanda Francisco-Nez, 10) Rina Sommer-Bowen, 11) Sara Dansie Jones, 12) Denise Rohan, 13) Betty Sawyer, 14) Crystal Young-Otterstrom, 15) Barbara Tanner, 16) Margene Bullcreek, 17) Margaret Davidson Pruitt, 18) Lucy Heppler, 19) Muna Mohamed Ali, 20) Ashley Patterson, 21) Alice Merrill Horne, 22) Jane Barrett, 23) Janalee Emmer, 24) Edie Roberson
Section I: 1) Hailey Shiff, 2) Brittany Heise, 3) Calamity Jane, 4) Romina Rasmussen
Becky Jacobs is a Report for America corps member and writes about the status of women in Utah for The Salt Lake Tribune. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift of any amount today by clicking here.