Cover art, "BRICK IN A SOFT HAT Series 2 No.1
(Portraiture of Martha Gruening)"
Stonehenge paper, archival ink.
36" x 18"
Dessel was the first visual artist invited to be part of the University of Michigan Frankel Institute fellows group. The year she participated, 2013/14, the theme explored was Gender and Jewish Life. Dessel researched the life and work of Jewish American activist Martha Gruening (1889-1937). Dessel’s artwork was inspired by a Philadelphia policeman’s description of Gruening , who after he arrested her referred to Gruening as “a brick in a soft hat.”
Dessel’s portraiture highlights Gruening’s many roles in life, including suffragist and journalist, and her activism in the early Civil rights movement and in education reform.