Womens Suffrage Exhibition – Call for Artists

We Persisted – Call for Artists

We Persisted Exhibition Themes

The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote throughout the United States was one step on the path to ensure that women and men enjoy the same rights in our society. Getting this amendment ratified resulted from the work of legions of women (and men) over many decades.

The fight for woman suffrage shows us that activism isn’t new, and in fact, exists on a continuum. Groups of committed individuals have always brought about social and political change. Success depends on time, persistence, organization, strategy, and tactics.

Call for Artists – Information & Application

Call for Portrait Artists-2019 Downloadable PDF

The Ramsey County Historical Society (RCHS) is planning an exhibition for display at its Landmark Center gallery to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.  Popularly known as the Woman Suffrage amendment, it granted women across the United States the right to vote. This anniversary exhibition’s key theme will be activism and will be installed in Fall 2020.

A key component of this exhibition will be the creation of art that tells the stories of the people selected for the exhibition. We are envisioning full-length portraits featuring female leaders of the suffrage movement and other movements. These works will be created specifically for this exhibition and will be displayed in public places around Ramsey County. There are size limits for these works. We envision photographic reproductions of some of the works, and exhibition of large-scale reproductions in public places around the county. It is also our hope that this exhibition will present the story of suffrage and activism in a “larger than life” manner to inspire real understanding of the struggles. The artwork created for this exhibition will be retained in the RCHS permanent collection.

Summary:  We are seeking original art works to support and compliment this exhibition on the Woman Suffrage movement and subsequent activism through today. We are seeking works that portray specific leaders of the movement to illustrate the themes, their struggle, and determination. Deadline for submission is June 28, 2019. We have budgeted $2,000 for each finished work project.  We expect to select at least 5 artists and as many as 20.

Background/Context: The works will be created to accompany the historical exhibition on the Woman Suffrage movement and subsequent activism in Minnesota, and nationwide. The works will be exhibited at Landmark Center during the run of the exhibition and are likely to be exhibited at other locations around Ramsey County. 

Project Description:  RCHS is seeking works that are either representational or abstract, but that are portrayals created to evoke pride in our foremothers in the movements, as well as emotion around what was (and for some, remains) a contentious event in our collective history. We are seeking to work with artists on this project because we understand the ability of art to convey thoughts and feelings that we sometimes do not know we are having or feeling. We see adding an artistic component to the exhibit as an opportunity to engage non-linear thinkers. Through other public programs, we intend to engage other arts, to further reach our audience (theater, song, or spoken word, for example). The visual art component is just one part of an effort to broaden our audience and encourage their learning about the women’s suffrage movement and activism from this project.

Details:  We are seeking 2-dimensional visual artworks that are no larger than 22.5” (w) x 36.5” (h) unframed, and no larger than 27” (w) x 39” (h) framed. We intend to reproduce some of these works in a large photographic format to place on exhibit around the county. 

Compensation:  The $2000 fee includes compensation for the artist, materials, and delivery of the finished work. Original artwork created for this project will be created as a work for hire, the artist will be assigned non-exclusive rights for unrestricted use of copies of the image.

Eligibility:  Any artist may apply for this opportunity.

First-Round Selection Criteria: First-round finalists will be selected by the exhibition development Steering Committee, RCHS staff, and its contractors. Artists will be selected based on their proposed works’ connection to the themes of the exhibition, and for evoking audience responses about the struggle, emotions, and pride in the accomplishments of the subject(s).  The artist’s statement will be an important criterion in the selection process.  Artists should select and rank 3 exhibition subjects for their work.

Second-Round Selection Criteria:  Second-round finalists will be awarded $125 for materials and to create 2-3 sketches further illustrating their connection to their subjects.  The artist’s statement will be an important criterion in the selection process. 

Final Selection Process:  Upon receipt of all the final proposals, the Steering Committee, RCHS staff, and its contractors will select the artists and the subjects to be represented in the exhibition.

Application process:  Attached to this call is a list of the people to be featured in the exhibition.  The names and short biographies of each person can also be found below as a downloadable PDF.

First-Round Applications for this opportunity must provide the following:

  • Artist resume, including contact information
  • Artists’ Statement regarding how they propose to portray the proposed subject(s)
  • Medium intended for this exhibition work(s)
  • Artists’ ranked list of 3 exhibition subjects they want to represent in new work
  • Portfolio of 3-4 images of work similar to what you believe you will create for this exhibition, and/or a link to directed online portfolio works
  • Acceptance that this a work made for hire

Second-Round Applications for this opportunity should have the following:

  • 2-3 sketches further illustrating their connection to subjects mutually agreed to by the artist and RCHS
  • Artist’s statement on importance of subject selected

Call for Portrait Artists 2019 Downloadable PDF

Where to send:

Deadline for submission is June 28, 2019. Additional questions and your completed application packet should be directed to RCHS Project Manager Mollie Spillman at Mollie@rchs.com.

Leaders in the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Artists may choose from the following list of leaders. Please choose up to three leaders in order of preference.

Biography information and list of leaders as downloadable PDF: We Persisted Women Leaders 2019

Downloadable PDF of abbreviations used in list of Women Leaders: We Persisted Abbreviation Glossary


Featured header image: Harriet Bishop