A new 3-story mural is up in downtown Huntsville celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. You can find it on the side of the parking deck on Washington Street. If you would like to put an actual address use 112 Washington St SE Huntsville, AL 35801. If you enjoy it, make sure to turn the street and enjoy some of the other public murals located just on Clinton Street! We spoke with Arts Huntsville to get details on the joint project with the Women's Economic Development Council of Huntsville.
How did the project start?
Plans for a 19th Amendment centennial mural began two years ago in August 2018 when the League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley approached Arts Huntsville with the project. Funding was needed to pursue the project, and in summer of 2019 the Women’s Economic Development Council (WEDC) gathered community partners to explore opportunities to celebrate the 19th Amendment centennial in Huntsville. The community partners quickly pledged their support for a mural project to commemorate this important milestone in US history.
How is the project funded?
WEDC’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee began fundraising efforts for the project in early 2020. With leadership funding provided by WEDC, community partners Alabama Women's Caucus for Art, Women In Defense - Tennessee Valley Chapter, Huntsville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Huntsville Madison County Public Library, Huntsville Committee of 100 and the League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley signed on to support the project. Like the diverse allies who joined together in the fight for women’s suffrage leading up to the 19th amendment, organizations from across Huntsville have joined forces to create this new public art installation in downtown Huntsville celebrating 100 years of women’s votes in America.
What are the partner’s goals for the mural project?
From the project’s inception, the partners committed to engage a female artist from the southeastern United States to create Huntsville’s 19th Amendment centennial mural. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, nearly half (45.8%) of visual artists in the United States are women; on average, they earn 74¢ for every dollar made by male artists. More than $196.6 billion was spent on art at auction between 2008 and 2019, and works by women accounted for just 2% of all sales. Over the same period, only 11% of all work acquired by the top US museums was by women artists.
In addition to recruiting female muralists to apply for the 19th Amendment mural project, the partners also worked with Arts Huntsville to identify four goals for the project:
Huntsville's project partners seek a dynamic mural design that:
- honors the anniversary of the 19th amendment in Alabama,
- celebrates the diverse fabric of our community,
- inspires future civic engagement by all citizens, and
- encourages interaction and social media sharing.
How was the artist selected?
Arts Huntsville released a project RFQ in mid-April via the national public art online application site Call For Entry (CaFE). The 19th Amendment mural project RFQ specifically targeted female artists in the southeastern United States. The deadline for artists to submit their qualifications and statement of interest was May 10, 2020. Working in partnership with representatives from the Alabama Women’s Caucus for Art, three finalists were selected based on the following criteria:
- Demonstration of artistic excellence by maintaining high quality, innovation,
- creativity and clarity of vision in the project proposal and sketch.
- Demonstrated ability to collaborate with community stakeholders.
- Enthusiasm for the project and ability to celebrate and inspire past and future
- milestones in voting rights and civic engagement.
- A positive track record of delivering quality projects on schedule and on
- budget, as determined by past work and references from previous clients.
The selected finalists submitted their mural proposals on June 12, 2020 in response to the project RFP. The Huntsville Public Art Committee reviewed the proposal submissions and selected Nashville-based muralist Kimberly Radford for the project. A former art teacher, Radford transitioned to a career as a full-time professional artist in 2012. In recent years the scale of her mural work has stretched across buildings in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Radford’s primary inspiration begins with the project goals and then often includes elements of folk art, pop art, and textiles from the 60’s & 70’s. Radford’s most recent projects can be seen using the hashtag #kimradfordart on Instagram.
Radford’s 19th Amendment mural design is inspired by the site’s narrow dimensions and proximity to the tree growing on Washington Street. Radford is creating an epic sized young girl reaching high to share a neighborly drink with the tree. She is clothed in candy-colored fabric pieced together like a southern quilt, closely stitched to her surroundings. She blooms from a garden of enormous camellias, bold foliage, and stands tall on a nourished foundation of freedom fought & won by women and men long before her. On the ground level of the design, the girl looks to her future while honoring the past with a “Votes for Women” sash partially visible. The vibrant new Huntsville mural sets the stage for photo opportunities and social media sharing.
When did the artist install the mural?
Artist Kimberly Radford will began work on the mural project on Monday, July 20, 2020. The mural was be finished and dedicated on August 18, 2020 – the 100th anniversary of US ratification of the 19th Amendment.
We would like to recognize the following groups who are part of this project:
Leadership funding provided by Women's Development Economic Council.
Additional funding and support provided by community partners:
Alabama Women’s Caucus for Art
Women In Defense - Tennessee Valley Chapter
Huntsville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Huntsville Madison County Public Library
Huntsville Committee of 100
The League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley