LEWISTON — A mural honoring the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment will be created in Lewiston-Auburn, making the Twin Cities one of only six sites in the nation to be selected by the federal program.

The location of the mural will be selected from several proposed sites in both cities based on artist proposals.

In October 2020, the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts announced a partnership to honor the women’s suffrage movement and the 19th Amendment, which secured women’s right to vote when it was certified on Aug. 26, 1920.

The program provides $25,000 to each of the nation’s six regional arts organizations that together represent all 50 states and U.S. territories. Some murals have already been completed.

According to Beckie Conrad, who serves on the mural advisory committee, the New England Foundation for the Arts urged all New England states to apply, and the Maine Arts Commission was awarded the grant for the region. The commission decided the project should go to Lewiston-Auburn given the area’s history and current work to bolster economic development through the arts, she said.

Conrad went to city officials in Auburn and Lewiston this week to share the news, and ask officials to endorse the project.

“I’m really pleased. This is a big deal,” she told the Auburn City Council on Monday.

According to a memo describing the project, the committee will place the call for art, manage the installation and pay the artist. Conrad said the committee is putting together a list of potential sites in both cities that will be shared with artists.

Sites under consideration in Auburn include a wall on South Main Street in New Auburn, the Auburn municipal parking garage, the side of Auburn Hall, and two other sites. Conrad said the location needs to have “high visibility,” and be a location that is easily found.

The memo says the “call for art” will take place in January, with the selection made sometime during the winter. Installation is set for September.

The Lewiston-Auburn area has seen a surge of public art projects over the past few years, including Maine Arts Commission-funded projects in both cities that are slated for this year.

The projects include an installation outside Baxter Brewing Co. and Bates Mill No. 5 by artist Andy Rosen, and a sculpture in Longley Park in downtown Auburn by artist Hugh Lassen.

Lewiston has also seen recent works like Arlin Graff’s zebra mural on the Centreville Garage, and most recently, Charlie Hewitt’s “Hopeful” sign on the Main Street side of Bates Mill No. 5.

Auburn also recently approved a second sculpture project, which was the runner-up for its Maine Arts Commission grant. In Anniversary Park, Maine artist Thomas Berger will install a stone sculpture called “The Fish.”

In April 2017, Congress passed legislation to create the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission “to ensure a suitable observance of the centennial of the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States providing for women’s suffrage.”

The 19th Amendment prohibits the United States or any state from denying the right to vote based on sex, protecting women’s access to the ballot in the Constitution.

Conrad said historians serving on the committee are looking at how area history could be tied into the installation, including a Lewiston woman who was active in the suffrage movements in Lewiston and Quebec.

But she also said the piece should be “forward-looking.”

Potential locations in Lewiston, she said, are Dufresne Plaza, the former violations bureau building on Park Street, and the Centreville parking garage, which is also home to the “zebra” mural.


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