ArtsOhio | Blog | Amanda Etchison | 7/18/19

Ohio Women Vote: Artist Commemorates Ohio’s Role in Ratifying the 19th Amendment with Stripe for Her Flag

From June 2019 to August 2020, visual artist Marilyn Artus is embarking on a multi-state road trip sure to drive any GPS mad.

Her travels have already taken her from her home state of Oklahoma through Missouri up to Wisconsin, then down to Illinois just to drive farther east to stop in Lansing, Michigan. A few days later, Artus turned right back around and circled back through Springfield, Illinois, to reach Topeka, Kansas, before returning once more to Oklahoma City.

And that was just leg one.

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Although her car’s odometer might beg to differ, Artus said her circuitous path through 36 states is worth every backtracked mile.

The journey is an integral part of Her Flag, a collaborative art and travel project celebrating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment, when women began voting in the United States. For Her Flag, Artus is partnering with women artists from the states that worked to ratify the amendment. The artists designed stripes that will be sewn together to form a massive 18-foot-by-26-foot flag. She is stopping in each state’s capital city in the order of amendment ratification to sew each stripe at a public ceremony.

“I think it is the coolest thing for the stripes to be in the actual order. I start with Wisconsin and I finish with Tennessee,” Artus said. “I started on the actual date that Wisconsin ratified, and I end on the actual date that Tennessee ratified and the amendment was passed. So, it’s the same duration—the project is the exact same duration of time that it took to ratify the amendment.”

Artus’ historically influenced travels brought her to Ohio on July 21, when she sewed the stripe designed by illustrator and designer Lindsay Dale-Scott onto the five stripes already joined together on the flag—Ohio ratified the 19th amendment on June 16, 1919, the same day as Kansas and New York, becoming the sixth on the ratification timeline.

The Her Flag ceremonies showcase performing arts in addition to the sewing of the flag, Artus said, adding that it is meant to be an opportunity to engage with the public and encourage them to become more active in the country’s democracy.

OhioKara Moore