The “Helping Hands” monument at Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens is a memorial to Jane Addams – a social reformer, women’s rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner who is known as the “mother of the social work movement”. This is the first major artwork in Chicago to commemorate a significant woman.
The monument was created by the sculptress Louise Bourgeois in 1993. Bourgeois chose to commemorate Addams in a way that will present her legacy and impact and not just her status figure.
The memorial is s series of black granite hands placed on stone pedestals. The hands, some rest alone and some holding other hands, are symbolizing the broad spectrum of people Addams reached out to, from all ages, races, and backgrounds, as well as Addams’ endless humanity and generosity towards people in need.
It was initially dedicated on August 26th, 1996, Women’s Equality Day, on Chicago’s lakefront at Navy Pier Park. Due to vandalism and lakefront location, it was renovated and reinstalled in 2011 at Chicago Women’s Park.