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Life & Arts

PHOTOS: Female leaders of color honored in a new exhibit at Austin Central Library

An art installation called "Legends Mosaics: Austin's Courageous Female Leaders of Color" is on display at the Austin Central Library.
James Christenson
/
KUT
An art installation called "Legends Mosaics: Austin's Courageous Female Leaders of Color" is on display at the Austin Central Library.

If you’ve visited the Austin Central Library recently, you might have noticed a new art exhibit in the library’s outdoor amphitheater.

Six mosaic portraits were put on display earlier this month spotlighting female leaders of color in Austin.

The project, Legends Mosaics: Austin’s Courageous Female Leaders of Color, was produced by Latinitas, a bilingual STEM nonprofit, and local female artists of color.

”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," Latinitas founder Laura Donnelly said about the exhibit. "They were the first of their communities to run for office, graduate with Ph.D.s and fight segregation in Austin's most popular spaces. The magnitude of what all these women have done for Austin’s culture is immeasurable and certainly there would absolutely not be a Latinitas without them.”

Legends Mosaics will remain outside the library through the end of the year and will then move to a permanent home on display somewhere else within the Austin Public Library system, according to a city spokesperson.

Here’s who the mosaics spotlight:

Martha Cotera is a Chicana feminist, civil rights leader, librarian and writer. Cotera helped form the Chicana Caucus within the Texas Women's Political Caucus.

A mosaic of Martha Cotera by Carmen Rangel.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Martha Cotera by artist Carmen Rangel.

Dr. Teresa Lozano Long was a philanthropist and educator. She was the first Mexican American and woman to earn bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in kinesiology from UT Austin. She received the National Humanities Medal in 2019 for her contributions to the state.

A mosaic of Dr. Teresa Lozano Long by artist Veronica Ceci.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Dr. Teresa Lozano Long by artist Veronica Ceci.

Dr. Bertha Sadler Means was an educator, administrator and civil rights activist. She served on Austin’s Parks and Recreation commission and fought segregation. The Bertha Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy was named for her.

A mosaic of Dr. Bertha Sadler Means by artist Lola Rodriguez.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Dr. Bertha Sadler Means by artist Lola Rodriguez.

Sylvia Orozco is the executive director and co-founder of the Mexic-Arte Museum. Under her leadership, the museum’s annual Día de los Muertos festival downtown is a lasting Austin tradition that brings tens of thousands of attendees.

A mosaic of Sylvia Orozco by artist Lys Santamaria.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Sylvia Orozco by artist Lys Santamaria.

Peggy Vasquez is a TV producer and host of Hispanic Today, a public access show highlighting Latino culture and leadership. She was the second Latina ever to run for Austin City Council in 1988.

A mosaic of Peggy Vasquez by artist Litzy Valdez.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Peggy Vasquez by artist Litzy Valdez.

Cathy Vasquez-Revilla founded La Prensa, a bilingual newspaper serving Austin’s Latino community, in 1986. She also served on Austin’s Planning Commission where she advanced the Mexican American Cultural Center and helped make zoning reforms to remove polluting industries near East Austin neighborhoods.

A mosaic of Cathy Vasquez-Revilla by artist Litzy Valdez.
James Christenson/KUT
A mosaic of Cathy Vasquez-Revilla by artist Litzy Valdez.

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