New art display at Fresno City Hall celebrates Women's Suffrage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno City Hall has seen its share of firsts, but the sign outside points you down a path of history.

Portraits of first ladies from Martha Washington to Melania Trump now line the walls.

"It's just a remarkable display," says Francine Farber. "It's a once in a lifetime thing for people to see."

Farber of the League of Women Voters in Fresno says the exhibit honors the 100th anniversary of Women's Suffrage, the right to vote.

Some of the older oil portraits by the late artist, Lawrence Williams, reflect the styles and fashions of the day.

The Fresno County Office of Education owns the portraits. They were donated by the family of the late Joe Levy, the long-time Gottschalks CEO.

Superintendent Jim Yovino has encouraged schools to use the exhibit as a teaching tool.

"It's not only kids, but it's community and adults," Yovino said. "I think there's a lot to learn. As you mentioned, the styles have changed a bit over the years, so it's kind of a great history lesson for all of us."

"You're really seeing all the history that you learned about in school," Farber said. "Now it becomes real to you. They're real people. They're not just in the history books."

The artist passed away in 2003, so the portrait of Michelle Obama was done by local artist Ma Ly.

Melania Trump's portrait is an official White House photo.

The first ladies will be on display through February 2.
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