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THE RIGHT OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES TO VOTE SHALL NOT BE DENIED OR ABRIDGED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY ANY STATE ON ACCOUNT OF SEX.

—  19th Amendment, U.S. Constitution  —

 

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100 years. 36 states. 1 artist’s journey.

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It took almost a year for 36 states to ratify it into law. But on August 18, 1920, my foresisters woke up with the right to speak their voice into the policies and the people that steer this nation. Finally, they could vote.

 
 

Road Trip

In June of 2019, Marilyn Artus will begin traveling the path of ratification and collaborate with a female artist in all 36 states. Each will create a stripe that she will stitch together onsite in their capital city.

Her Flag

When Her Flag is completed in August of 2020, it will be a 36 stripe flag, one for each of the ratifying states that turned the 19th amendment into law. It is going to be HUGE 18 x 26 feet.

 
 
 

Marilyn Artus

My family has been in the United States since its inception. I can track family back to the revolutionary war. 

I have three ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary war and my great great great grandmother Jesse Hayes was an early member of The Daughters of the American Revolution. Two family members fought for the Union during the Civil War and were captured and held in Confederate prisons.

I also had family that came West and settled in the 19th century. I have a family legacy that has actively participated in the American dream since its founding. I want to continue my family legacy of service through my art making, by honoring this upcoming important anniversary in American History, voting for women.

As I little girl growing up in the 1970s and 80s, the school text books were mighty thin with women to look to for role models.  

A few year ago, I created works about the suffragist era in the U.S. Through my research I collided with some fascinating women: Harriet Forten Purvis, Victoria Woodhull, Mary Ann Shadd Cary, Elizabeth Piper Ensley, Frances Wright, Ida B. Wells, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Lucy Stone, Miriam Leslie and Sojourner Truth.

They were complex and real. 

They were complicated. 

They were activists.

They were passionate.

They were Republicans and Democrats.

They were groundbreakers.

 
 
 

WHERE THIS FLAG THING CAME FROM

When I was 14 years old, I took a school trip to Washington, D.C. and visited the Smithsonian Museum. Even though much of it was missing, my strongest memory is of the colossal flag that hung over Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the war of 1812. It was the star-spangled banner, and the inspiration for the poem by Francis Scott Key that later became our national anthem.

Here was a moment in history that I could relate to. A woman had created this important thing — it was sewn by her hands, just as a young girl I had watched my mother sew clothes for me.

To this day my experience at that museum manifests itself in my art making.

I love my country, and I celebrate its potential.

 

ABOUT Marilyn

Marilyn Artus is a visual artist based in Oklahoma, and her work explores the female experience and women’s issues. She has created shows that explore the suffragist era in the U.S., pays tribute to an assortment of women in U.S. history and continues to collide the many different stereotypes that women navigate through on a daily basis.

After graduating with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree she worked for 16 years as a commercial artist. In 2003, she co-founded The Girlie Show, an all female art festival in Oklahoma City that drew artisans from all over the United States to exhibit, celebrate, encourage and showcase female talent, that ran for 10 years. Each year, the organization awarded a $1,000 grant to a selected female art or design student. She also founded a branch of Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School, a cabaret life drawing class that she owned for 3 years in OKC.

Other career highlights include solo and group gallery and museum exhibitions in Oklahoma, New York, Tennessee and Washington. She was awarded the Brady Craft Alliance Award for Innovation in fiber arts in 2011 and led an art making workshop at the Brooklyn Museum in New York in conjunction with a retrospective exhibition of female pop art.

In 2017 Marilyn was invited by the Science Museum of Oklahoma to create a piece for their exhibit Sole Expressions, which focused entirely on shoes. For this piece Marilyn created a large flag, In Our Shoes, composed of shoes images from 364 of her Facebook friends. The collaboration of In Our Shoes has been one of the inspirations for Marilyn’s most recent undertaking, Her Flag.  

Marilyn was recently in a group exhibition, In Her Hands, at the Robert Mann Gallery in New York City. A unique and timely exhibition, In Her Hands connected women artists working in the tradition of women's work with progressive women candidates running for office in the 2018 elections. 

 

RAISING AWARENESS OF MINORITIES AND WOMEN OF COLOR WITHIN THE SUFFRAGE FIGHT

This is one of six stickers in our Unknown Suffrage Fighters Sticker pack that is one of the donation rewards in our crowdfunding campaign on ifundwomen. See donate button below to get more info about the campaign.

This is one of six stickers in our Unknown Suffrage Fighters Sticker pack that is one of the donation rewards in our crowdfunding campaign on ifundwomen. See donate button below to get more info about the campaign.

The 19th amendment states: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. This amendment did legally give all women the right to vote, but, laws within each state varied and did create complications for many women in exercising this right. Jim Crow Laws in the South impeded many African Americans from voting until the 1960s and Native Americans did not have full voting rights in all 50 states until 1970. Asian-American women could not vote until 1952. Women's history is often times over looked, we think this anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate and discuss the many challenges related to voting in the past and present for women and people of color.

We featured a woman of color from the suffrage era everyday on Instagram for Black History Month. We are not interested in talking about Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other well known suffrage fighters, there will be plenty of projects doing that. We will be focusing on women like Ida B Wells, Mary McLeod Bethune, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Forten Purvis and so many more. We will continue to use our social media platforms to feature these women. 

 
 
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the 36 women artist collaborators

 
 

The crazy order the artists are in is the order of ratification and the way Marilyn will travel across the country

  1. Wisconsin - Jenie Gao

  2. Illinois - Judith Mayer

  3. Michigan - Ann Lewis

  4. Kansas - Jennifer Hudson

  5. New York - Indira Cesarine

  6. Ohio - Lindsay Scott

  7. Pennsylvania - Jameela Wahlgren

  8. Massachusetts - Kari Percival

  9. Texas - Mila Sketch

  10. Iowa - Annie Swarm Guldberg

  11. Missouri - Rori de Rien

  12. Arkansas - Virmarie DePoyster

  13. Montana - Jane Waggoner Deschner

  14. Nebraska - Cindy Chinn

  15. Minnesota - Anne Ulku

  16. New Hampshire - Nicole LaRue

  17. Utah - Jann Haworth

  18. California - Rora Blue

  19. Maine - Amie Kennedy

  20. North Dakota - Darby Ness

  21. South Dakota - Klaire Lockheart

  22. Colorado - Susan Cooper

  23. Kentucky - Linda Erzinger

  24. Rhode Island - Allison Cole

  25. Oregon - Davida Fernandez

  26. Indiana - Bonnie Fillenwarth

  27. Wyoming - Bethann Garramon Merkle

  28. Nevada - Lisa Jean Allswede

  29. New Jersey - Donna Bassin

  30. Idaho - Vina Domingo

  31. Arizona - TaLisa Lopez-Garcia

  32. New Mexico - Laurel Garcia Colvin

  33. Oklahoma - Denise Duong

  34. West Virgina - Savannah Schroll Guz

  35. Washington - Erin Shigaki

  36. Tennessee - Higgins Bond

 
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the Tour

As the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment approaches, I’ve taken a fresh look at the suffragist era again and will be creating a work to educate and celebrate this important anniversary.

I recently, collaborated with 364 friends on Facebook to create a large scale work and have been using the American flag for feminist exploration. I have also been feeling the need to experiment with performance art.

This project will include those three things: collaboration, the American flag, and performance art.

 
 
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Road Trip

I met with fellow artists, curators and art leaders to talk out my passion for this cause and to figure out what the work would actually look like. What could I make that would be worthy of this cause? 

In 2020 I’ll travel the path of ratification to collaborate with a female artist in all 36 states. Each of these amazing women will create a stripe that I’ll stitch together in a public location in their capital city. The people of each state are invited to celebrate this anniversary with me.

The culmination will be a new flag sewn as a thank you and a love letter to the states that gave women the right to vote.

This project is about moving forward. This project is not about Democrats or Republicans. It is about Americans. It is about celebrating an important anniversary in our history. And it is about evaluating how we can encourage more women to run for political office.

The year 2020 will be a presidential election year. It will be a tough year full of negative politics. I hope that all who participate or witness this project will have a moment of pride and a respite from the political mayhem that is sure to be swirling around us in 2020. 

 

 
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