Undefeated: Canvas(s)ing the Politics of Voter Suppression since Women's Suffrage
An exhibit by WVU Libraries
August 1, 2020- June 30, 2021; Downtown Campus Library
Opening Reception: Sept. 11, 2020, 4-6pm
Lead Curator: Sally Brown Deskins, MA, Exhibits Coordinator, WVU Libraries, email@example.com
Lead Designer: Eve Faulkes
Designs on event postcard image: top left: Gabrielle Pfeil; top right: Kevin Cline; bottom left: Travis Williamson; bottom right: Imogen Frost.
About: On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U. S. Constitution (granting women the right to vote), and the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (enforcing voting rights for racial minorities), the WVU Libraries are planning a major art exhibition for fall 2020 at the Downtown Campus Library around the political process with special attention to efforts to suppress the votes of women and minorities since 1920. [Voter suppression is a strategy used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. It is distinguished from political campaigning in that campaigning attempts to change likely voting behavior by changing the opinions of potential voters through persuasion and organization. Voter suppression, instead, attempts to reduce the number of voters who might vote against a candidate or proposition.]
An advisory committee consisting of regional scholars, creatives and professionals are collaborating to curate the educational content and select the artwork organized in themes: Information/Disinformation; Access/Intimidation; Legislation/legal questions; voter fraud; and advocacy/action. The artwork will play a main role, as artwork, advertising and photography played and continues to play a large role in suffrage, voting and policy. The exhibit will use the template of the campaign button as individual canvas. Artists and designers worldwide were invited to respond to the themes and encourage viewers to consider issues that don't get a lot of attention, in the mass media format of a button design.
The exhibit will become a digital exhibit living on the WVU Libraries' exhibits website and archived on The Research Repository at WVU*. Artist/designer retains the right to use the artwork images in their portfolios and for other personal causes. Select designs will be printed and made into buttons and/or stickers.
Lead Exhibit Sponsor: WVU Libraries
Exhibits and Events Sponsor: Reed College of Media
Exhibit Sponsors: WVU Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; WVU Council for Women's Concerns; West Virginia Humanities Council Mini-Grant
Supporters of WVU Libraries: Adventure West Virginia; Arts Monongahela
Sponsors will play an important role in the exhibition installation, events, publicity, and programming. Sponsors are recognized in highly visible ways including exhibition wall text, brochure, postcard, invitation, flier, poster, and other printed materials; all press materials including sponsor statement with logo; signs at special events; WVU Libraries exhibitions web page; social media posts. Sponsors are also offered the opportunity to hold events in conjunction with the exhibit throughout the year at the WVU Libraries. Sponsorships of $250-15,000 will help us complete this truly impactful exhibition in the best way possible to the benefit of all partners. Contact Sally Brown Deskins, firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
WVU Libraries is proudly part of a statewide network of celebrations honoring the centennial for women's suffrage. Design by Colleen Anderson.
WVU Libraries is part of several national initiatives celebrating the centennial, including:
- Feminist Art Coalition: Read the Smithsonian's article here.
- Women's Vote Centennial
- 2020 Centennial
- Resources for Inspiration/Information
- West Virginia Suffragists: An Online Exhibit Exploring Suffrage in the Mountain State
Exhibit Advisory Committee
Joseph Cohen, Executive Director, ACLU of West Virginia
Johanna Winant, NOW Morgantown
Kitty Dooley, attorney, Charleston
Danielle Emerling, Curator, Congressional and Political Papers, WVU Libraries
Marjorie Fuller, Director, WVU Center for Black Culture and Research
Natalie Tennant, former WV Secretary of State
Karen Kunz, professor, WVU Department of Public Administration
Eve Faulkes, Professor, Graphic Design, WVU School of Art & Design
Meshea Poore, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, WVU
Mike Slaven, Professor, Department of History, Politics, Society, and Law, California University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan Rosenbaum, President, LWV of Morgantown-Monongalia County
Nancy Tolliver, WV League of Women Voters
Charlotte Hoelke, Asst. Dir., Women's Resource Center, Clinical Asst. Professor, LGBTQ+ Center, WVU
Lindsay Nielson, Researcher, Public Policy Evaluation, Fors Marsh Group