Artist: Adrienne Wheeler
Title: My Mother

Images of a simple, handmade dress repeat, its preciousness pressed between sheets of glass like corsages pressed in a book, witnesses to the continued accomplishments of several generations of Newark women. The inspiration for this work is the words of person who wore the dress, the artist’s mother, Elizabeth Moore Wheeler:

I can’t believe that I am so excited over something that happened in 1942, but indeed I am. My daughter was looking at items stored in my mother’s cedar chest and she discovered a dress, which I explained was my graduation dress I had made in sewing class…

I was graduating from Morton Street Elementary School in 1942 and was looking forward with great enthusiasm to entering South Side High School, from which I graduated in 1946. The awesome, wonderful part of this memory is that a little Swiss dot dress had surfaced after seventy-three years of storage because someone cherished it as representing progress in a child’s life.

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