Feminist, activist, and artist Suzanne Benton is a sculptor, mask performance artist, printmaker, painter, and workshop leader who has worked in 31 countries over the past 40 years. The native New Yorker has been coming to St. Petersburg since 2004, and has been a visiting artist in printmaking at Eckerd College since 2006 where she recently had an exhibit of her prints at Eckerd’s Cobb Gallery.
At 84-years-old, Benton might be tempted to slow down, but instead she is evermore the activist. In 2017, she was honored by the American Civil Liberties Union’s Pinellas Chapter as activist of the year due to her leadership role in catalyzing the Women’s March in downtown St. Petersburg, which brought together 30,000 peaceful marchers together on January 21, 2017.
Benton says that her activism fuels her art, and her art fuels her activism. She is now head of the Women’s Caucus for the Arts, St. Petersburg Branch (WCAFL-SPB), whose mission is to create community through art, education, and social activism. WCA members are currently working on a series of portraits of Women Who Work.
Benton's artwork has been represented in 175+ solo shows and two retrospectives, and she has traveled and worked all over the world, including in villages in Africa, India, and Nepal. Her work is represented in museums, and private collections worldwide. Author of the Art of Welded Sculpture and numerous articles, she is listed also in Who's Who in America and Who's Who of American Artists, is a founding member of Veteran Feminists of America, and was featured in a book titled, “Feminists Who Change America.”
Benton is also in the process of writing a memoir entitled Spirit of Hope. When asked about her WADA membership, Suzanne said she hoped for community, exposure and promotion, like most artists. And buyers!
In 2018, she gave an amazing and inspiring talk at a Creative Morning St. Pete event, where she talked about her life, her sources of courage and how her art feeds her activism and her activism feeds her art.