Local Connection Brings Artist Maria Cusumano’s Images of Female Empowerment to the Quad Cities
November 28, 2022

Davenport, Iowa (November 28, 2022) – The work of artist Maria Cusumano (1958-2019), who taught at the Davenport Museum of Art (now the Figge) and St. Ambrose University in the 1990s, will be featured in an exhibition on view beginning Saturday at the Figge Art Museum.

Mother, Goddess, Crone: The Art of Maria Cusumano features 11 prints that were recently gifted to the Figge Art Museum by Cusumano’s husband and fellow artist Mark Towner, so that we can share her work with the community. The works 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, which reveal her personal vision of womanhood.

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 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 a fertility goddess and the Babylonian Goddess of War, Fertility, and Love — Ishtar.

Born 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.

While in Iowa during the 1990s, 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.

“We are thrilled to exhibit Cusumano’s artwork, celebrating the power of women,” said Figge Art Museum Assistant Curator of Fine Art & Design Vanessa Sage. 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 view through June 18, 2023, in the Figge’s second-floor Lewis Gallery.

About Artist Maria Cusumano:
Maria Cusumano (1958-2019) received her MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and her BFA from Parsons School of Design. She continued her education in psychology through doctoral coursework at Antioch New England Graduate School and the University of Iowa. Cusumano taught at St. Ambrose University, and Endicott College in Massachusetts from 2001 until 2018, among other schools. She also worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Craft Museum, Davenport Museum of Art, and the International Center of Photography, among other institutions. Her artwork is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

About the Figge Art Museum:
The Figge Art Museum is dedicated to bringing art and people together. Located on the Mississippi River in downtown Davenport at 225 West Second Street, the Figge is the premier art exhibition and education facility between Chicago and Des Moines. Its landmark glass building, designed by British architect David Chipperfield, is home to one of the Midwest’s finest art collections and presents world-class exhibitions, art classes, lectures, and special events that attract visitors of all ages. Museum hours are 10 a.m.­­-5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Thursdays; and 12-5 p.m. on Sundays. Reservations are not required but can be made at or by calling 563-345-6632. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students with ID and $4 children ages 4-12. Admission is free to Figge members and institutional members and to all on Thursday evenings. You can become a member for as little as $50 by visiting the Figge website. To contact the museum, please call 563.326.7804, or visit


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225 West Second Street
Davenport, Iowa



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