Exhibit at library honors women who have made history in Lawrence

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The small dresses in artist Liza MacKinnon’s exhibition, “A Kansas Childhood,” embody a meaning much larger than their physical size.

The exhibition, on display at the Lawrence Public Library, consists of 13 doll- and child-sized dresses made entirely from embroidered and painted Kansas maps, according to a news release from MacKinnon. 

“Each dress is named for an individual of note in local Lawrence history and comes with a short paragraph about their life in Kansas.”

Here are a few examples MacKinnon shared: 

• “Hattie Anderson Elliott, one of the founders of Lawrence and wife to Robert Gaston Elliott, publisher of the Kansas Free State paper. Strong abolitionists, they helped Kansas transition from territory to state.”

• “Lawrence native born in 1874, throughout her career Mary J. ‘Mamie’ Dillard was a teacher who was also involved in promoting rights and votes for women and civil rights and leadership for African Americans. She taught and encouraged a young Langston Hughes and continued to support him in his career. She remained active throughout her life in numerous women’s organizations that focused on leadership, suffrage, and literature.”

• “Although the Ladybird Diner closed March 14, 2020, Meg Heriford and a small number of staff haven’t stopped working ever since. The Ladybird has offered free bagged lunches for anyone who needs them throughout this long year+. Heriford writes about her pandemic efforts and much more in Ladybird, Collected, a book of essays released last fall. Purchase a copy from Lawrence’s Raven Book Store and 100 percent of proceeds go to the diner’s community meal program, with each book purchase funding four meals.” 

All proceeds of one of the dresses will be donated to the Lawrence Percolator art space, according to the release.

The dresses are displayed along the wood-lined passage containing the self-check machines. The show started Saturday and will run through the month of May at the library, 707 Vermont St.

Susan Wolfe Some dresses from Lawrence artist Liza MacKinnon’s exhibition at the Lawrence Public Library
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