Give Us the Vote, is a contemporary art exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary on Nov. 6 of women’s suffrage in New York.
The exhibit will examine the current state of voting rights in America and feature new and commissioned works by 20 artists. The exhibition will be unveiled during an opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 4 p.m. at the ArtsWestchester gallery in downtown White Plains.
“Give Us the Vote gives us a chance to take a step back and understand what the current state of voting is in America. It exposes areas of improvement within the political system, while also raising awareness,” said Janet Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “The exhibit will address many of the enduring barriers to the ballot including gerrymandering, stringent voter registration requirements, limits on early voting and revisions to the Voting Rights Act. The talented artists in Give Us the Vote are able to express their views – some very personal – on the topic.”
The suffragist movement was one of the most powerful grassroots political movements of the 20th century. Women and men from all walks of life rallied together to win women an equal say in the democratic process and full recognition as citizens. The battle for the ballot raged through the Civil Rights Movement leading to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, ensuring that the right to vote would not be denied because of race or color. Many still feel that each election cycle reveals remaining disenfranchised populations and raises controversy about who should, can and does vote.
“The idea that American democracy is government ‘by the people, for the people’ is fundamental to our national identity, yet the history of who has access to the ballot box in America is troubled. The inspiring pieces in Give Us the Vote are powerful tributes to the legacy of the suffragists’ efforts, and remind us that the quest for equal access to the voting booth remains ongoing,” said ArtsWestchester Gallery Director Kathleen Reckling, adding that the exhibit displays a myriad of artworks. The work ranges from a 20-foot mural by Chappaqua Artist Laurel Garcia Colvin in her signature toile motif of significant political movements including suffragists and civil rights activists to a banner statement piece by Brooklyn Artist Yashua Klos that depicts a portrait of a black man standing for the National Anthem while placing a closed fist over his heart.
The exhibit is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and Westchester Medical Center. The following artists will be featured in Give Us the Vote:
On the same day as the opening reception of the exhibit, ArtsWestchester will host a discussion with women’s suffrage historian Louise Bernikow called The Suffragists of Westchester County. This will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, an hour before the opening reception, at 3 p.m. During the discussion, Bernikow will reveal the stories of colorful and impassioned local characters that propelled women to voting rights victory in New York State. Admission to this event is $10. Proceeds will support the civic education and advocacy efforts of the League of Women Voters of White Plains and ArtsWestchester’s Arts in Education Program.
Additional events will be held during the month of November in partnership with various speakers and organizations.
ArtsWestchester is located at 31 Mamaroneck Avenue in White Plains, N.Y. The exhibition will be on view through January 27. Admission is free to the public. Docent tours of the exhibit are available to the public and for private groups with a suggested per person donation. ArtsWestchester gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 12 to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 12 to 6 p.m.; artsw.org/giveusthevote.