The Weirton Daily Times | Article | Janice Kiaski | 7/28/19

Her Part of ‘Her Flag’

WEIRTON — The 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote comes in 2020, and local artist Savannah Schroll Guz will be part of a unique tribute to that.

The Weirton woman has been selected to represent the state of West Virginia in the Her Flag project — — which celebrates the original 36 states that ratified the amendment.

The nationwide collaborative art and travel project is the brainchild of Oklahoma-based artist Marilyn Artus, and Guz is in the company of 35 other artists involved, each of whom represents their home states. Together they will create a flag with 36 distinctive stripes.

On her Facebook page about the flag project, Artus notes she wanted to create something that was “a powerful, positive educational project to celebrate this very important American anniversary.”

For Guz, her work will be the 34th stripe in the 18-by-26-foot flag and contain portraits of four figures instrumental in the amendment’s ratification: Dr. Harriet Brown, Lenna Lowe Yost, the Hon. Jesse A. Bloch and Ada Enid Haldeman Ford. “I meet up with Marilyn on June 11, 2020, in the W.Va. state capital, where she will sew the 312-inch stripe I contribute onto the larger flag. The event will be filmed as an episode in a larger project documentary. We’re going to make it a celebration, with music and spoken word poetry by West Virginia-based performance artists.

But Artus already has begun her 14-month journey to 36 states, traveling in the order of ratification. It kicked off June 10 in Wisconsin and will end on Aug. 18, 2020, in Nashville.

Ohio’s stripe, designed by illustrator and designer Lindsay Dale-Scott to honor the Ohio women who led the charge for women’s suffrage, was added to the flag in Columbus on July 21.

“The completed flag will hang at the Mid-American Arts Alliance in Kansas City, Mo., and then Marilyn is working to have it hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., during the 2020 election season,” Guz said. “Additionally, she and her team are creating a documentary film about the flag itself, and each of the 36 sewing ceremonies, so there will be a segment in the film about our meeting in Charleston. The Her Flag project will live on in film that way as well,” she said.

From stop to stop, the artists will publicly hand Artus the stripe representing their state, and Artus will sew it onto the flag in their capital city. She will engage with each local community to provide a woman musician or performer the opportunity to participate in this celebration as well. The public, meanwhile, will be invited to witness the performance and take a moment to remember an important anniversary.

Guz learned about the Her Flag project’s call for artists through a friend, who urged her to enter.

She did, completing her initial design in March and submitting the final artwork in April. “I submitted examples of my work, my artist statement, an explanation of why I wanted to be involved and waited for the notification,” she said. “When the ‘congratulations, you’ve been selected’ e-mail came, my husband, Michael, said there was so much joyful squealing coming out of me that I scared our dogs,” she said, playfully referring to her “art associates” — Otto, a schnoodle, and Miss Pepper Potts, a rescue Pomeranian from Paws Here Awhile in Georgetown, Pa.

I feel incredibly privileged to represent this wonderful state with my art, to honor the state figures that made women’s suffrage possible and to be able to tell our state’s actually pretty dramatic ratification story,” Guz said.