Maria A. Cusumano American, 1958-2020; Remember Eden (Black and Brown), circa 1990; Relief print on paper; Gift of Mark Towner Image: 8 x 5 7/8 inches Support: 10 x 7 3/4 inches

Through Sunday, June 18

Figge Art Museum, 225 West Second Street, Davenport IA

An assemblage of arresting works by a former teacher at the Davenport Museum of Art (now the Figge Art Museum) and Davenport's St. Ambrose University will be on display at the Figge through June 18, with the exhibition Mother, Goddess, Crone: The Art of Maria Cusumano boasting 11 prints that were recently gifted to the venue by Cusumano’s husband and fellow artist Mark Towner.

A dedicated artist and educator, Cusumano was fascinated with the nature of feminine power and how that power has been expressed throughout time and across cultures and religions. The works in Mother, Goddess, Crone: The Art of Maria Cusumano were created during the 1990s while Cusumano was living and working in Iowa, and include striking images of goddesses, sisterhood, and the cycle of life that reveal her personal vision of womanhood. Additionally, the exhibition includes images of feminine spirituality and strength, including the famed Venus of Willendorf, a stone figure from 25,000 to 30,000 years ago thought to represent Ishtar, a fertility goddess and the Babylonian goddess of war, fertility, and love.

Born in 1958 and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Cusumano had a lifelong passion for creating art, working in mediums ranging from painting to poetry and music. Coming of age during the height of the women’s-rights movement of the 1970s, she was a dedicated feminist, and in addition to being active in social movements, she was deeply spiritual, practicing Buddhism, Hinduism, and Vedanta. These varied interests as well as her doctoral studies in psychology figured heavily into her artistic practice.

Receiving her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from Parsons School of Design, Cusumano continued her education in psychology through doctoral coursework at Antioch New England Graduate School and the University of Iowa. She taught at the Davenport Museum of Art and St. Ambrose University in the 1990s, and while in Iowa, Cusumano began focusing on feminine spirituality and creating artwork featuring mythological figures. This interest led her to establish Goddess Graphics, a fine art letterpress printing company.

In addition to continuing her teaching at Endicott College in Massachusetts from 2001 until 2018, Cusumano, who passed away in 2019, worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Craft Museum, and the International Center of Photography, among other institutions. Her artwork, meanwhile, is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Art Institute of Chicago, and as Figge Art Museum Assistant Curator of Fine Art & Design Vanessa Sage states of Mother, Goddess, Crone, "We are thrilled to exhibit Cusumano’s artwork, celebrating the power of women. Her striking images embrace the primal roots of female empowerment and offer a source of strength for women in contemporary times.”

Mother, Goddess, Crone: The Art of Maria Cusumano will be on display through June 18, with regular museum hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays (10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays) and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Museum admission is $4-10, and more information is available by calling (563)326-7804 and visiting

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