About the Sculptor -- 3
Lewis went to Boston in 1863 with letters of introduction in hand. A number of prominent abolitionists facilitated her efforts to become a sculptor. Through the sale of portraits of John Brown and Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, she financed a trip to Italy in 1865.
In Rome, Lewis experienced greater artistic freedom as a woman and a black. Although she associated with several well-known American sculptors, including Hiram Powers and William Wetmore Story, Lewis forged closer ties with other women artists who lived there at the time, such as Harriet Hosmer and Anne Whitney.