With 2020 marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote, DMA-events reached out to Convention and Visitors Bureaus throughout the state to partner on the creation of 10 original murals by female artists in multiple communities across Tennessee, the last of the necessary 36 states to secure ratification on Aug. 18, 1920. The first Walls for Women mural was completed on Friday, July 24 in Tullahoma.

Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor started 501(c)(3) DMA-events in May 2018 as a way to harness and inspire the imaginative spirit found in all of humanity by removing some of the barriers to entry of the creative process. Walls for Women, their project for 2020, focuses exclusively on capturing female creative energy for artistic placemaking in communities in need of joy, hope and color during Tennessee’s Centennial of the 19th Amendment.

Volunteer State communities hosting the murals include the cities of Nashville and Knoxville and smaller towns such as Maryville, Martin and McMinnville.

The mural project will conclude in Nashville on the August 18 anniversary, allowing each destination the opportunity to coordinate reveals around this significant date. The work will be painted on walls in high-visibility locations with the subject matter reflecting the individual artists’ professional talents.  Visit Knoxville is partnering on a mural by Knoxville-native Paris Woodhull at Printshop Beer Co. in South Knoxville. Blount Partnership is partnering on a mural at Bike n Tri by Miami artist Nicole Salgar. The roster of muralists also includes such notable talents as Cymone Wilder, Kim Radford and Tara Aversa (Nashville), Sarah Painter (Tallahassee), Jenny Ustick (Cincinnati), and Juuri (Oklahoma City).

“DMA believes in giving artists full creative expression, so the murals themselves will not necessarily be about the suffrage movement, but what lives in each muralist’s creative mind,” Luna says. “They will be colorful, thoughtful and drive forward the state’s century-old commitment to female equality. The whole concept of this festival is to give women an unregulated voice through art.”

Knoxville is home to two statues that pay tribute to the role Tennessee played in Women’s Suffrage. The newest features Harry T. Burn, a member of the Tennessee General Assembly, and his mother, Febb Burn. Burn’s vote is credited with positioning Tennessee as the deciding state supporting the change to the U.S. Constitution (as influenced by his mother, whose letter is on display at the East Tennessee History Center). To learn more, visit http://easttnsuffrage.com/.

“We could not be more pleased to partner with Kristin, Scott, Paris and the team at Printshop Beer Co. on this project,” says Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas. “Paris’ mural will be a beautiful addition to a city that is deeply and visually proud of its role in history.”

“When we found out about the mural festival we knew this project could help beautify our downtown while celebrating women's rights and this pivotal moment in history,” said Blount Partnership Director of Tourism Kim Mitchell. “It’s a great fit because we have a public arts budget and the perfect location on the Bike & Tri building.” 

“Voter participation in Tennessee is nowhere near the levels it needs to be for a functioning democracy,” Luna says. “While the murals honor the ratification of the 19th amendment and are integral in the beautification of downtown areas, we also want to see this project lead to an increase in our state’s voter turnout, both this election season but every year going forward.”

Walls for Women is made possible by DMA partners Cycles Gladiator, Visit Knoxville, McMinnville Tourism Development Authority, Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority, Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, Tennessee Whiskey Trail and the citizens of the Town of Nolensville.

For more information, interviews and images, please contact DMA-events President Kristin Luna at kristinluna@gmail.com or 931-808-9165.