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Arts & Life

After 8 Years And A Few Wrong Turns, Fort Collins' Living Her Legacy Project Unveiled

KUNC Unveiling photo of Portrait window alone.jpg
Courtesy Patti Smith
The Living Her Legacy Project unveiled public art works Sunday honoring four Fort Collins women.

The Living Her Legacy project all began with a wrong turn.

Patti Smith was leaving the Colorado Convention Center when she made a wrong turn and ended up happening upon 80 portraits of men and women. After a little investigating, Smith discovered the images were part of Colorado Panorama, a project by artist Barbara Jo Revelle designed to showcase the state’s historic figures.

“And I thought, ‘If they can do that in Denver, why can't we do that in Fort Collins?’” Smith said.

Almost eight years later, Smith unveiled the first four portraits of the new Living Her Legacy project honoring historic Fort Collins women this week.

“Women need to be recognized,” said Smith, founder and executive director of Living Her Legacy. “We know that women have been overlooked for centuries with the work they’ve accomplished. But it’s an honor to be able to do this. We are blessed and honored to be able to bring these women’s legacies and their indelible impact in our community to everybody.”

Created by local artists Rachael Davis and Trish Murtha, the first round of portraits includes Hispanic activist Betty Aragon-Mitotes and Becky Hammon, the first woman to serve as head coach in an NBA game.

Subjects are selected for their visionary outlook, a demonstration towards making a difference, and their ability to be a strong role model for girls and women. Living Her Legacy is the city’s first public art project dedicated to women both past and present.

“Because all women have created an impact,” Smith said. “We didn’t want to not be able to tell the stories of all women from different eras and different age groups and different backgrounds.”

Located in the windows of Coopersmith’s restaurant in Old Town Fort Collins, the portraits — which also include Ann Azari and Brownie McGraw — are the first of 48 that will highlight local women. In addition, there will be an educational program in area classrooms and youth centers regarding each of the subjects.