"Can Do!" Sculpture by Seward Johnson
This sculpture, “Can Do!” is on loan from The Seward Johnson Atelier. This first ever installation in our building is a cooperative endeavor between the two organizations in celebration of Women's Empowerment Month. "Can Do!" By Seward Johnson ©2015, The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.
Time & Location
May 01, 2022, 12:00 AM EDT – May 31, 2022, 12:00 AM EDT
Jersey Shore Arts Center - Main Lobby, 66 S Main St, Ocean Grove, NJ 07756, USA
About the Event
"Can Do!" Sculpture by Seward Johnson ©2015, The Seward Johnson Atelier, Inc.
Presentation Event in the Main Lobby, May 6 at 6pm until 6:30pm will kick off our New Jersey Symphony Chamber Players performance. This presentation is free and open to the public.
Seward Johnson was a visionary, artist and philanthropist that established an international community of artists with the Johnson Atelier in Hamilton, NJ, later going on to create Grounds For Sculpture, a 42-acre nonprofit sculpture park, museum, and arboretum on the site of the former New Jersey State Fairgrounds. A recipient of the International Sculpture Center's 2019 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award, Seward passed away at the age of 89 in March of 2020, but the Atelier continues his legacy, producing and preserving works of art and design, while creating cultural experiences and expanding artistic possibility. Seward's work is featured in collections worldwide with select exhibitions in Plant City, FL; Elkhart, IN; Old Westbury Gardens, NY; and Wildwood, NJ this summer.
"Rosie the Riveter is an allegorical cultural icon of World War II, representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing the male workers who joined the military. Rosie the Riveter is used as a symbol of American feminism and women's economic advantage.
The idea of Rosie the Riveter originated in a song written in 1942 by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. Images of women workers were widespread in the media in formats such as government posters, and commercial advertising was heavily used by the government to encourage women to volunteer for wartime service in factories. Rosie the Riveter became the subject and title of a Hollywood film in 1944.
Nearly 19 million women held jobs during World War II. Many of these women were already working in lower-paying jobs or were returning to the work-force after being laid off during the depression. Only three million new female workers entered the workforce during the time of the war.
Women responded to the call of need the country was displaying by stepping up to fill positions that were traditionally filled by men. They began to work heavy construction machinery, taking roles in lumber and steel mills as well as physical labor including unloading freight, building dirigibles (which are airships similar to air balloons), making munitions, and much more.
Many women discovered they enjoyed the autonomy these jobs provided them with. It expanded their own expectations for womanly duty and capabilities.
Although most women took on male-dominated trades during World War II, they were expected to return to their everyday housework once men returned from the war. Government campaigns targeting women were addressed solely at housewives, likely because already-employed women would move to the higher-paid "essential" jobs on their own, or perhaps because it was assumed that most would be housewives. One government advertisement asked women: "Can you use an electric mixer? If so, you can learn to operate a drill."
Many of the women who took jobs during World War II were mothers. Those women with children at home pooled together in their efforts to raise their families. They assembled into groups and shared such chores as cooking, cleaning, and washing clothes. Many who did have young children shared apartments and houses so they could save time, money, utilities and food. If they both worked, they worked different shifts so they could take turns babysitting. Taking on a job during World War II made people unsure if they should urge the women to keep acting as full-time mothers, or support them getting jobs to support the country in this time of need."
The Rosie the Riveter image continues on today serving as an homage to women’s empowerment, inspiring women to strive for and work towards their passions and life goals. The sculpture, “Can Do” is on loan from The Seward Johnson Atelier located in Hamilton, New Jersey. This first ever installation is a cooperative endeavor between The Seward Johnson Atelier and the Jersey Shore Arts Center.