Meet Jane Addams

Ok, so it's South Looper Jan Huttner--but you'd never know

09/22/2011 11:05 AM

By Bonnie McGrath

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

Jan Huttner as Jane Addams

The Helping Hands Sculpture, Chicago Women's Park & Gardens (Park 550 Advisory Council)

If you are a fan of the late Jane Addams, and you love her style of social activism, good heartedness, tireless energy, ability to write, work on behalf of peace, education--and a healthful, stimulating living environment for all--then Saturday is your day. A 1993 group of artist Louise Bourgeois sculptures in honor of the Nobel Peace Prize winner called "Helping Hands" will be dedicated in their new home at the Women's Park & Gardens at 18th and Indiana, adjacent to the oldest house in Chicago, the Clarke House Museum. Festivities will begin at 10 AM. The sculptures had been "lost" in recent years--but recently found and installed in a great place.

The best part of the dedication is that Jane Addams will be there--in spirit and in costume. Film critic, women's arts activist and South Looper Jan Huttner has a true-to-life costume that she dons on Jane Addams Day and other occasions and totally acts the part. She talks like Jane, and says what Jane would have said. She totally looks the part in her duds. She is a huge fan and disciple of Jane's--and in fact, she was the one who sparked digging the sculptures out of storage at the Art Institute so they could literally see the light of day forevermore. You can read about Jan doing that here.

In any case, enjoy the dedication--and enjoy the art itself. But most of all, don't monopolize Jane. Because you will be tempted to. She will have a lot of things to say and a lot of people to say them to. But do say something to her--and see what she says back. It's a great chance to revisit the past.

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By Jan Lisa Huttner from Dearborn Park
Posted: 09/23/2011 7:15 AM

In response to those asking who took the photo of me "as Jane Addams," the answer is: Richard Bayard Miller (my wonderful husband). Photo was taken last year on 9/6/10--Jane Addams' 150th Birthday. A group of us went to Jane Addams Park on the Chicago Lakefront (right near Oak Street Beach) & passed out stacks of sweets (Twinkies, Yahoos, etc) to all the passersby :-)

By Jan Lisa Huttner from Dearborn Park
Posted: 09/22/2011 4:25 PM

Thanks so much, Bonnie! But once again I must make it very clear that I didn’t have any direct personal involvement in getting the “Helping Hands” from storage into public view. However, I have been pushing for this for almost five years now, so I have to think that someone must have talked to someone who talked to someone who talked to someone until finally… SUCCESS!!!