Biographical Information:

Dates: 1936-
Dates in Ridgefield: 1965-

non-fiction writer, visual artist, performance artist, sculptor, printmaker, feminist

Artist Suzanne Benton uses the peoples of the world as both sources of her inspiration and the audiences for her creations. Her specialty is sculpting metal masks, which she uses with myths and legends to tell stories. Ms. Benton has studied in Asia (under a Fulbright), Africa and Europe, has given performances and workshops in 28 countries, and was an artist in residence at Harvard University. A skilled metal sculptor, she has written a book, The Art of Welded Sculpture, and many articles on the subject, but is also a printmaker and painter. Her masks have appeared in more than 40 solo shows (she has had, in all, over 250 solo shows) and are in many museum and private collections. Ms. Benton joined the League of Women Voters soon after moving here in 1965. "I headed the public accommodations task force and got myself into hot water with many townspeople by advocating the need for low-income housing," she said years later. An active feminist both locally and nationally, especially in the 1970s, she was the moving force behind the creation of the Ridgefield Women’s Political Caucus, and worked to help women win elective office, including Lillian Moorhead, Ridgefield’s first female selectman. In 1996, the Veteran Feminists of America honored her as a pioneering feminist. Locally, she has given mask, storytelling, and sculpture programs in the schools and at the Aldrich Museum. Since 1982, she has been a member of the town’s Architectural Advisory Committee, which offers advice on major planned construction projects.

The Art of Welded Sculpture, 1976

–Sources: Jack Sanders, Notable Ridgefielders;

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