News Tribune | Article | Emily Cole | 8/24/19

Nationwide Art Project Coming to Capital City

Women in America received the right to vote almost 100 years ago, and now, an Oklahoma artist is traveling to 36 state capitals to celebrate it.

Women in America received the right to vote almost 100 years ago, and now, an Oklahoma artist is traveling to 36 state capitals to celebrate it.

On Monday, the Cole County Historical Society & Museum is hosting artist Marilyn Artus' traveling collaborative art project "Her Flag," which will combine art from 36 female artists from the 36 states that ratified the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920.

In each capital city, Artus meets with a local artist to sew a stripe they designed onto the project at each event. Starting June 8 in Wisconsin, Artus began traveling to each state in the order of ratification, to end in Tennessee on the actual anniversary of ratification — Aug. 18, 2020 — with a large, 36-stripe flag. The final product will measure 18 feet by 26 feet.

Over 14 months Artus will make 17 separate trips — traveling more than 50,000 miles and staying in hotels for 132 nights, according to her website.

Missouri was the 11th state to ratify the 19th Amendment on July 3, 1919, so Jefferson City is the 11th stop — part of Artus' fourth road trip. In the same trip, she will visit Des Moines and Little Rock.

Over the trip, Artus hopes to encourage women to register to vote, according to a news release.

She also said this celebration isn't just about women.

"It took Democrats and Republicans and men and women and black and white Americans working together to get this amendment passed," Artus said in the news release. "Her Flag is not a political piece of work, rather a powerful, positive symbol used to educate and celebrate this truly momentous American anniversary."

St. Louis-based artist Rori de Rien will add Missouri's stripe to the flag. Rien is an illustrator and cartoonist focusing on the power of symbols and narrative, according to her website. Her stripe will represent the long struggle for equal rights.

The program will also feature Missouri poet laureate and author Aliki Barnstone, who is currently a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Missouri. She was appointed as the poet laureate of Missouri by Gov. Jay Nixon in 2016.

The event kicks off at 5 p.m. Monday in the society's courtyard at 109 Madison St. in Jefferson City. It's free and open to the public.

MissouriKara Moore