Helping Hands Jane Addams Memorial

Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens

Helping Hands

Helping Hands Jane Addams Memorial

Chicago Women’s Park and Gardens

Amy Morton

Writer: Blue Balliett
Actor: Amy Morton

“I think that Jane Addams, who never stopped reaching out, connecting, and helping, would have loved what Louise Bourgeois created in her honor, and also what this sculptor said: ‘I am not what I am, I am what I do with my hands…’ ”

Blue Balliett

This is Chicago’s first major artwork to honor an important woman. Helping Hands commemorates Nobel Peace Prize winner and social reformer Jane Addams (1860 – 1935). Jane Addams established Hull House, the nation’s first settlement house in Chicago’s poor immigrant neighborhood on the Near West Side.

Her contributions are too numerous to list. Addams and her cadre of social reformers opened Chicago’s first public playground and helped foster the national playground movement. Her efforts led to the creation of the earliest child labor laws and the nation’s first juvenile court system. She advocated for women’s rights, including women’s right to vote. Addams also founded the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

The sculpture was created by artist Louise Bourgeois, then in her eighties. Rather than depicting Jane Addams with a figurative sculpture, Bourgeois created a series of carved black granite hands, representing Addams’ humanity and generosity towards the many people to whom she reached out.

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Supported by
Chicago Parks District