Featured Artists

Sharon Louden – Shag Pools and Video Projections
Artist in Residence Sharon Louden will work with a group of student apprentices to create a temporary sculptural installation in Alumni Circle titled Shag Pools. Louden’s Shag Pools will resemble domestic rugs (as in “shag rugs”), highlighting the traditional place of women in the home. Created with the materials and techniques associated with building a gravel road, Louden and her team will construct the polychrome Shag Pools out of locally sourced crushed stone and polished recycled glass. Designed to be barrier-free and walked upon, the Shag Pools will be used as performance venues for multidisciplinary suffrage activities.

Louden’s installation will also include animated video projections of her abstract forms, allowing the work to have a nighttime function. The projection will be located on the center section of the façade of Old Main and run in a continuous loop during the evenings of the celebration week. The three-minute video will conclude with a QR code that links to a website containing information about the artwork and its relation to the suffrage celebration.

Sharon Louden, Shag Pools, Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN.

Sharon Louden, The Bridge outdoor façade projection, 2009, Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


Core Dance – Site-Specific Suffrage Dance Performance
Shag Pools will also become the performance venue for a site-specific dance presentation by Atlanta-based Core Dance. In the week prior to the performance, Core will host enquiry conversations in the community to summon movement sequences that approximate the emotions associated with the struggle for universal suffrage and that will invite the public to become participants.

Core Dance, Life Interrupted, 2015, Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA (Inspired by the 70th anniversary of the closing of the Japanese American internment camps in Arkansas)

The Writeous Poets – Spoken Word Suffrage Speeches
Shag Pools will be the venue for spoken-word reenactments of historically important suffrage speeches from the era—including those of Sojourner Truth, Fredrick Douglass, and Mary Church Terrell. To make this history resonate with young audiences, Little Rock Central High School’s “Writeous Poets” will transform selected speeches into spoken-word performances.

Writeous Poets, Civil Twilight, Little Rock Central High School Commemorative Garden, 2017


Jaimee Jensen-McDaniel – Suffrage Sing-Along
Alumni Circle will also host a giant karaoke-style communal sing-along devoted to suffrage protest songs, a nod to the fact that when suffragists were not allowed to speak in public, they sang about their oppression. Based on the Giant Sing-Along at the Minnesota State Fair, we propose to transform Alumni Circle by setting up a field of 30 microphone stands that face Old Main where we will project the words to each song.

Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian Dolly Parton will be invited to participate in the sing-along either in person, via video recording, or by granting UCA the rights to sing her new song “The 19th Amendment,” from 27: The Most Perfect Album, created by Jad Abumrad, host of the podcasts Radiolab and More Perfect.

Giant Sing-Along, Minnesota State Fair, MinneapolisGiant Sing-Along, Minnesota State Fair, Minneapolis

Liz Smith – Ceramic Floor Mosaic
Alumni Circle will also host a temporary ceramic floor mosaic made of various colors of natural clay. UCA ceramics professor Liz Smith, in collaboration with UCA ceramics students and community members, will create a large-scale representation of the U.S. flag using clay. Components for the mosaic will resemble seeds of native Arkansas species. Each seed will be handcrafted by members of the community: adult consumers with special needs at Independent Living Services (ILS), homeless adults and children served by Bethlehem House (BH), and older adults at College Square (CS). We chose the metaphor of the seed because it provides a way of looking to the future of voting rights, why they are important, and what we must do to preserve them and our democracy. 

Liz Smith, The Garden, 2011, porcelain, decals, acrylic paint

We will host ceramic workshops for consumers and residents of ILS, BH, and CS, which will be facilitated by UCA faculty and students. We chose to partner with communities that typically experience barriers to voting and about whom, because of popular media, we tend to make negative assumptions, envisioning the nightmarish world of the insane asylum, the cardboard box under the overpass, or the isolating rooms of the nursing home. We want students to understand that 1) such is not necessarily the case, and 2) that these groups want to be part of the larger community while they recognize this community often refuses to invite them to belong. The workshops will assist college students in becoming local and global citizens, recognizing similarities and differences between cultures and creating a connection with a different culture. We want our students to become interested in the lives of others who are different and to cultivate a disposition toward empathy. Empathy is not an inherent value. It has to be taught and the best way to teach it is to engage others through the arts in different contexts whether face to face, virtually, and through the stories and experiences of others.

Persona Poems by UCA Students – Voices of Suffrage
In Spring of 2020, in anticipation of the Suffrage Centennial, students in Professor Sandy Longhorn’s Persona Poetry class at UCA, drafted poems in the voices of various suffragettes. Persona poetry, sometimes called dramatic monologue, features speakers as characters, speakers who are not the poet. In this case, students first researched the Suffrage Movement, then selected an individual suffragette to embody and did more research on her life, specifically. Finally, students drafted poems that attempted to capture each woman’s lived experience, and to give each woman’s voice an opportunity to be heard again, in the century-shadow of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

Kristen Spickard and Dr. Lesley Graybeal – CitiZINE Project Workshops
CitiZINE Workshops. Zines are small, eight-page, self-published booklets, typically reproduced inexpensively by photocopier. Zines can contain stories, drawings, poetry, or just phrases that shed light on important issues or whatever is on the mind of the participant. According to Asian American Studies professor Tom Honma, “Because of their do-it-yourself ethos, zines are often embraced by those from marginalized backgrounds because of their freedom to experiment with different modes of writing, expression, and presentation.” Graphic designer Kristen Spickard and community outreach coordinator Dr. Lesley Graybeal will host zine-making workshops on campus and in the community (with our project partners at ILS, BH, CS and with the community at the Faulkner County Library; at Torreyson Library, Student Center Amphitheater, and various classrooms) that explore what it means, within the context of the suffrage centennial, to be a citizen and how citizens can come together to develop empathy for each other.

CitiZINE Exhibit. Spickard and Graybeal, along with members of the RSO Students for the Arts, will also curate an exhibit of the zines, along with poster-sized enlargements of selected zine pages, that will be on public view at UCA Downtown during the month of September.

Community Reception. We will host a community reception for all workshop participants at UCA during the week of Suffrage Centennial events. The reception will coincide with the Suffrage Sing-Along in Alumni Circle. ASL interpretation will be provided.

CitZINE Exhibit, curated by Kristen Spickard and Lesley Graybeal, April 2017, UCA Downtown

Brian Young and Sue Bennett –
Threads Through Time Art Exhibit, Baum Gallery
Threads Through Time is a companion exhibit to the on-site installation, titled “Shag Pools,” by artist Sharon Louden. It also addresses the Suffrage Centennial by tracing the evolution of textiles created by women from the 19th century to today. Artworks will range from 19th century samplers and protest quilts; to suffrage banners, posters, and sashes; to contemporary reinterpretations of traditional textiles, including Rena Detrixhe’s Red Dirt Rug and Jessie Hemmons’ yarn bombing.

Rena Detrixhe, Red Dirt Rug, 2016, loose red Oklahoma soil, imprinted with modified shoe soles

Jessie Hemmons (aka Ishknits), Your Need to Feel Powerful, 2016, yarn


Lillie Wren – Suffrage Swag
Participants at select events at UCA and Crystal Bridges will be given Suffrage Centennial mementoes handcrafted by UCA graphic design student Lillie Wren. Funded by a prestigious SURF grant, awarded by the Arkansas Department of Education, this project will incorporate graphic design elements of the suffrage era—fonts, styles, motifs taken from posters, banners, handbills, buttons, sashes, etc.—combined with the artist’s own style and contemporary outlook. Utilizing her skills in package design, Wren will create mini ballot boxes (approx. 3 x 3 x 2 in.) made of recycled cardboard and transparent paper so that viewers can see both inside and outside the box; outside, there are images of women of 1920 and, inside, inclusive images of women today.

Lillie Wren, All Inclusive, 2019

Jillian Gregory – Interpreted Fashion Show 

An interpreted fashion show featuring decades of women’s clothing from 1848 (the year of the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY) through the 1920s (the flapper era), and beyond, will illuminate all the ways women’s clothing has shaped bodies, minds, and societies. The costumes, borrowed from area theatres and/or rented from costume rental companies, will be punctuated by five “transparent” dresses created by UCA theatre student and costume designer Jillian Gregory, who is the recent recipient of a prestigious SURF grant awarded by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. Gregory’s designs will feature five silhouette eras comprising the 1860s crinoline, 1880s bustle, 1900s S-curve, 1910s Suffrage uniform, and 1920s flapper. Cream-colored undergarments (bustles, crinolines, brassieres, etc.) will be visible atop leotarded models and be visible underneath coordinating period costumes made of sheer silk organza. Spoken word interpretation will highlight all the ways women were affected by these constricting undergarments.