Brian Hanlon always takes a celebratory approach to each commission. The artist’s goal is to inspire, awe, and memorialize. On Monday, November 2nd, the day before Election Day, Hanlon dedicated a sculpture to Brookdale Community College in the MAS main lobby. The sculpture is a representation of a triumphant moment when all those brave women walked to Washington DC to enact the 19th Amendment.
“This important milestone deserves a historical and spiritual permanent marker. I hope the women who walk in and out of the building feel the impact of the statue and have the courageous spirit, like the women before them to succeed,” said Hanlon.
Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry stated, “Here on the eve of election day with millions of votes that have already been cast, it’s hard to imagine a time when women had no vote, I cannot imagine what my life would have been like if I could not have fully participated in civic life. I think of Susan B. Anthony standing outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 4, 1876, reading the declaration of the rights of women of the US and the sculpture of her in that moment by Brian Hanlon.”
Christine Hanlon, Monmouth County Clerk, said, “This beautiful sculpture will remind us all and countless future generations of the fight for women’s suffrage and more importantly inspire them to cherish and preserve the rights established by the 19th amendment that we are here to celebrate today.” When our country is in the midst of the 2020 Presidential election, we are reminded of how lucky we are as Americans to have the right to elect our leaders who will represent us. “I would not be serving in this elected position that I am today were it not for the brave suffragists who ensured this precious right for women.”
On the southern end of the campus, in the Student Life Center, is the Martin Luther King Jr. Lounge. “We now have two markers of those moments in time when people had to fight to be fully recognized citizens of our American democracy. We are so excited to have the statue here. So many of our students will walk through those doors, and when they enter this building it’s the first thing, they are going to see. Thank you very much Brian for your dedication and your generosity,” said Dr. David Stout, president of Brookdale Community College.
Roseanne Alvarez, professor of English and Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) coordinator said that graduates and current students through the WILL talked with Brian to get his vision of his work. He said it is not a named figure but a multi-representative statue. “The students will bring it to life in an installation that features more marginalized voices and underrepresented figures from the movement and beyond. The students are doing all of the research and will be collaborating with student artists to develop this installation that will go on the wall behind the statue.” This installation will be presented in April at the end of the semester.
“I am super honored to be working on the installation to go along with this sculpture. It means a lot, to have something that is a tribute, a reminder, long standing and something that commemorates women I think it’s pretty cool especially with the elections coming up. I am super grateful to be a part of this. In my research I found there were Native American women who influenced the early women’s suffrage activists in the United States because of their egalitarian society. They will be included as part of the installation,” said Karen Amaro, a former Brookdale student and WILL member. She is currently an English Education major at Georgian Court University.
Hanlon’s work prompts the viewer’s mind to contemplate what has been and dream of what’s possible…and what’s next. With both obvious and introspective hand-crafted details rarely found in mixed media work, Hanlon honors icons, legends and moments of significance. He has received national and local awards and commendations for his commissions, which primarily encompass the civic, historic and athletic sectors.
“In 1979 I graduated high school and came over to Brookdale, I met a man named Tony Blazer who completely transformed my life, he helped me develop a language through the art of molding clay, I will be forever grateful,” said Hanlon.
Brookdale, the County College of Monmouth, is a dynamic community college system committed to student success, lifelong learning, economic development and the common good of society. Brookdale plays a transformative role in our community, providing educational, cultural and professional programs and offerings to enable, empower and inspire all community members to fulfill their aspirations to the best of their ability.