Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) President and Founder Paula Wallace celebrated Georgia Day with five new Savannah Women of Vision honorees. Recognizing women of peerless valor, altruism and intellect, the investiture welcomed Miriam Center, Edna Jackson, Mary Lane Morrison, Fredericka Washington and Sema Wilkes into its elite cadre of Savannah trailblazers. The celebration was held on Friday, Feb. 9 at Arnold Hall, located at 1810 Bull St.
This year’s honorees join the original 10 Savannah Women of Vision, inducted in 2016: Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth, Abigail Minis, Mother Mathilda Beasley, Juliette Gordon Low, Flannery O’Connor, Nancy N. Lewis, Emma Morel Adler, Frances Wong, Alice Andrews Jepson and Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. As a permanent tribute, portraits of the five women, carved by SCAD alumnus Michael Porten (B.F.A., illustration; M.F.A., painting), will adorn the walls of Arnold Hall, home to SCAD’s School of Liberal Arts.
“Over time I’ve learned about many remarkable women who have built Savannah into the city it is today. Their stories—fascinating stories—have not adequately been told,” declared SCAD president and founder Paula Wallace. “The Savannah Women of Vision induction ceremony and the permanent installation of their portraits on the walls of SCAD’s Arnold Hall theater recognize important women in Savannah’s history. The work of our honorees benefits everyone around them—through invention, commerce, cultural arts, philanthropy, economy, and education. The legacy they have woven forms the fabric of our community.”
Wallace created Savannah Women of Vision to elevate recognition of strong female leadership and its salutary influence on society. She chose Arnold Hall for the investiture to right the historical record inbuilt in the theater, where a grand 1930s New Deal-era mural depicts titans of Savannah’s history — notable in its omission of women. With the addition of this year’s five honorees, Wallace establishes a vital tradition of civic recognition for the city, commending and commemorating the profound influence of women whose ingenuity and dedication have indelibly shaped Savannah.
The public ceremony was hosted by SCAD alumna Tiffani Taylor and former Savannah Women of Vision inductee Alice Jepson, and featured spoken and sung performances by SCAD students and alumnae. Throughout the year, the university will offer tours of the Women of Vision portrait installation in Arnold Hall to K-12 students and educators. A free curriculum guide provides historic context to the portrait installation.
“It goes without saying that women have contributed as much as men to the flourishing and success and vitality of Georgia,” said Paula Wallace. “Savannah Women of Vision is a recognition of their life’s work, and an opportunity to honor their legacies.”