Women of the Rails

By Herstory Printmaking Collective

On exhibit through August 10, 2024

Spanning two sides of a Railyard Park community building, the Herstory Printmaking Collective’s Women of the Rails is an ambitious, large-scale mural celebrating the many under-recognized women who have contributed to the culture surrounding the Santa Fe Railyard and the Western rail experience.ย  The piece features original artwork printed from customized, sticky foam relief plates using Caligo inks, and traces the long and often forgotten role of women in developing the railroads – from Owl Woman, a Cheyenne tribe member known for her skill as a mediator, to Christine Gonzalez Aldeis, the first U.S. woman to become a Class 1 railroad engineer.

Listen to Herstory discussย Women of the Rails with host Matthew Chase-Daniel on the “Coffee and Culture” podcast.

“The story we are telling begins with the lives of women during the establishment of the Santa Fe Rail, but it is also broader,” said Herstory. “Through our research, we’ve come to understand the pivotal role of Chinese immigrants, freed slaves, and Native, Black, Latino, and Irish workers in the construction of the railways. By bringing those in the background of history into the foreground, we hope to paint a fuller picture of the railroads. By focusing on women, we are telling stories that are often ignored. By focusing on workers, we hope to bring greater appreciation for those who did, and continue to do, the hard work of linking our nation by rail. Ideally, through this installation, the audience will see themselves as a piece of the story.”

Women of the Rails is partially funded by a grant from the Santa Fe Arts & Culture Commission.ย  It was installed during the Railyard Park Conservancy’s April 20, 2024 Earth Day event, and runs through August 10, 2024.