The Gazette | Article | 8/29/19

In Iowa stop 'Her Flag' marks 100th anniversary of women's right to vote

DES MOINES — Eastern Iowa artists marked the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s ratification of the 19th Amendment by contributing to a national collaborative art project called Her Flag 2020.

The project aims to create an 18-by-26-foot flag that celebrates the amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. Artists in the 36 states to ratify the amendment in 1919 and 1920 were chosen to create a stripe for the flag. They are being sewn together by project creator and Oklahoma-based artist Marilyn Artus as she travels through the 36 states on the anniversary of when they ratified the amendment. Iowa ratified the amendment on Aug. 24, 1919.

During a ceremony Aug. 24 in Des Moines, Artus sewed the Iowa stripe onto the flag while Akwi Nji, an artist from Cedar Rapids, delivered two spoken word pieces. Iowa’s stripe was created by Annie Swarm Guldberg, an artist from Mount Pleasant.

Artus brought out her sewing machine to add Iowa’s stripe to the flag in front of an audience of about a dozen people at the Des Moines Social Club.

Guldberg painted her stripe on canvas with oil paints, scanning the finished product in to be printed on fabric. The stripe depicts hands grasping sashes, which resemble the sashes worn by suffragettes. It reads “Votes for Women.”

Under the sash is the date Iowa voted “yes,” along with the names of suffragettes such as Arabella Babb Mansfield, the first female lawyer in the U.S. and a professor at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant.

On the second sash is a quote from Carrie Chapman Catt — a leader in the suffragette movement and a native Iowan — that reads: “Progress is calling on you to make no pause. Act!”

IowaKara Moore