Walking through a city, one might notice that the majority of commemorative statues and monuments are of men or for men. In fact, in 2016 there were fewer than half a dozen statues of real women in 10 of the largest U.S. cities. That discrepancy is about to be flipped on its head in Dallas, Texas, where over a hundred 3D printed statues of female STEM innovators have been erected. The life-sized statues are part of the #IfThenSheCan exhibit which itself is part of the If/Then Initiative; they are on display at Dallas’ NorthPark Center until October 24, 2021.
The impressive installation is not only meant to showcase the incredible impact that women have had and are having on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but also to inspire generations of girls and young women to join the field and pursue their own dreams. “This installation is rooted in a simple truth: seeing is believing,” If/Then succinctly explains. “When a girl sees a woman successfully pursuing a STEM career (and having fun!), she is more likely to imagine a STEM career for herself… and perhaps even change the world.”
The #IfThenSheCan exhibit consists of over 120 3D printed statues which are set up around the NorthPark Center, a shopping mall in Dallas. Taking the “T” from STEM in stride, the exhibitors decided to 3D print the statues, resulting in what they call the largest 3D printed project of its kind. To make the statues, each subject underwent a full body 3D scan using 89 cameras and 25 projectors. The 3D models were then printed in full-size using an acrylic gel material. Each statue reportedly took at least 10 hours to print.
In addition to the statues, which honor women in STEM like ocean explorer Katy Croff Bell, PhD; computer engineer Afua Bruce, MBA; and polymer chemist Roselin Rosario-Meléndez, PhD among many others, the If/Then initiative has launched a scavenger hunt to learn about the statues in an interactive way, as well as an AR app through which visitors can see themselves as a statue. If you’re in the Dallas area, you can find everything you need to know about the inspiring exhibit here.