August, 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which secured women the right to vote in the United States. The 19th Amendment guaranteed the vote for some twenty-six million women. In recognition of the seventy-two year struggle that led to this democratic achievement, the Art of Suffrage invites visitors to examine artworks that made the suffrage movement visible to the public. These artworks reflected ideas and arguments that informed the debate over whether women should vote. Some of these ideas continued to prohibit women, especially women of color, from voting even after passage of the amendment. Reproduced in newspapers and magazines and as political cartoons, posters, postcards and photographs, artworks spread messages for and against woman’s suffrage in the equivalent of today’s mass media. The artworks also showcase period styles in art and graphic design and their use in political activism.
The Art of Suffrage is made possible by a collaboration between the Gallery of Art and Design, American Democracy Project and History and Art programs. Image research and labeling is courtesy of Taylor Hanneken and students in HIST 4500 spring 2020, supervised by Dr. Josh Nygren. Members of the “Art of Suffrage” planning group include: Christian Cutler, Eric Stykel, Dr. Josh Nygren, Taylor Hanneken and Dr. Sara Brooks Sundberg.