Springfield, IL | Illinois Times article by Karen Ackerman Witter
Marilyn Artus, a visual artist from Oklahoma City, was in Springfield as part of a 14-month collaborative art project commemorating the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Artus came up with the idea to create an enormous flag with stripes made by women artists from each of the 36 states that voted to ratify the 19th Amendment. She issued a call for artists to participate in Her Flag, and 340 women applied. One from each state was selected. Artus is traveling to the state capitals of each of the 36 states, in the order of ratification, to sew the stripes onto the flag. Wisconsin was the first to ratify, followed by Illinois. Artus sewed Illinois’ stripe onto the stripe from Wisconsin at an event June 12 at the Springfield Art Association’s gallery in the Hoogland Center.
This was the first of 17 road trips Artus has scheduled between now and August 2020, finishing in Nashville, Tennessee, the final state to ratify. From Springfield she was headed to Lansing, Michigan, and then Topeka, Kansas. The final flag will measure 18 x 26 feet, with the iconic “Votes for Women” image in the upper left corner. Each state was assigned either pink or red as the dominant color for their stripe.
Artus is a self-described suffragist-era nerd. In her call to artists, she explained, “I would like you to celebrate this important anniversary in American history with your art-making in a hopeful way. It is important to me that a diversity of political beliefs is included in this experience. I am interested in things that unite us. I want to celebrate and educate with this project.”