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Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the iconic,

big-haired Texas Governor

In observation of Women’s History Month, The Ann Richards Legacy Project teamed up with the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation to reinvigorate downtown Austin by installing an inspiring series of 96 banners honoring the legacy of the beloved Texas governor. The Ann Banners line twelve city blocks of Congress Avenue from the Ann Richards Bridge to the Texas State Capitol, commemorating the 30th  anniversary of Richards’ inauguration on January 15, 1991. On that bright, chilly day, an estimated 15,000 people joined the governor-elect in a peaceful march up Congress Avenue to the capitol building where she was sworn in as the 45th  governor of Texas.
 

The eight-by-four-foot tribute banners, designed by DJ Stout of the graphic design firm Pentagram, reveal the timeless iconic life-force of Governor Richards with twelve images from throughout her life, matched with twelve distinctive Ann quotes, including:
 

  • Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, she just did it backwards and in high heels.

 

  • Life isn’t fair, but government must be.

  • Sobriety has freed me to deal with failure and never give up.

  • Cherish your friends and family as if your life depended on it, because it does. 

  • Teaching is the hardest work I had ever done, including being governor of Texas. 

  • I get a lot of cracks about my hair, mostly from men who don’t have any.

  • If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind.

  • You can put lipstick on a pig and call it Monique, but it is still a pig. 

  • Always look ahead and never look back

  • I have a real soft spot in my heart for librarians and people who care for books.

The quotes capture the late governor’s razor-sharp wit, her commitment to opening up state government to everyone, her quality to inspire others to get involved in public service, her honesty about being in recovery, and her ability to accentuate the positive and  “always look ahead.” 

 

“If Ann were with us today, she would have laughed out loud at these banners displaying her pictorial history because, well, she loved a good laugh. Especially at the expense of inflated egos of public figures, including her own,” said Bill Cryer, who served as Richards' press secretary from 1982–1994. 
 

“I can imagine her standing on the capitol steps looking south down Congress at the display and thinking, ‘Who would have thought that pictures of  ‘ole bird legs’ (a nickname she earned playing high-school basketball in Waco) would be hung up and down the main street of Texas,” Cryer mused. 

 

The banners will remain up through Spring 2021.

We wish to thank:

The Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation

Governor Richards’ children: Cecile, Clark, Dan and Ellen Richards

Lynne Dobson and Greg Wooldridge

The Winkler Family Foundation

Joene Grissom, Mary Beth Rogers, Bill Cryer and many more AWR community members.

Texas  photographers Ave Bonar, Kirk Tuck, Alan Pogue and Jana Birchum

The City of Austin

Pentagram, Austin Partner DJ Stout and lead designer Michelle Maudet

Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders and the Ann Richards School Foundation

Elizabeth Christian PR

Paramount Theatre