In the spirit of an approaching election and celebration of women’s suffrage, Art and Design Professor and Associate Chair Elizabeth Smith is conducting a campus, city-wide art project. This project is a small part of UCA’s larger celebration of the Suffrage Centennial, Forward Into Light, orchestrated by Art and Design Professor and Associate Dean Gayle Seymour
Smith’s project includes students and organizations across campus making clay, flesh-colored acorns to assemble an American flag for the final product. This project is supposed to reflect the beauty of diversity in how these many different shades of acorns come together to create the full picture of a flag.
“The symbol of something so small [like an acorn] that can produce an oak tree could last a hundred years. So the idea is that your single vote may seem small and insignificant, but it has a strong, potentially lasting impact on our country,” Smith said.
Smith’s intentions are to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage and highlight the importance of voting.
“In 1920, there were still tons of people who still couldn’t vote even after women got the right to vote. So, that start and growth from that moment forward shows how just that simple right to vote has changed people’s lives for the better, and of course, how much work there still is to do,” Short and Denney Academic Director Carl Olds said.
Smith is holding events around campus to include students in the project. On Tuesday Sept. 8, Smith dropped in on one of Short and Denney’s bigger events of the semester, Open Mic Night. This is a night where residents are able to share their talents. “There are a lot of really awesome, talented people in the building,” Olds said.
In addition to the students showcasing their talents, Smith shared her project with the residents of Short and Denney. She shared the intent of the project, why she chose the acorns and walked them through how to make their own acorn. Forty to fifty were made to match the number of residents in attendance Tuesday evening.
“As our residential college, we have signed up and we have committed to try to kick out 500 for the flag. We have events going on weekly around here, so we’re going to pull the clay out at these events,” Olds said.
Smith wants to get people involved and aware that their voice matters. “I was hoping to have a situation where he had some discussion about the history of voting, the importance of voting and any challenges or successes they would have in their access to voting,” Smith said. “That part has become more challenging because we can’t be in big groups.”
Smith is attempting to have around 6,000 acorns in total to complete the flag. Anticipated to finish mid-October, the flag will be displayed in the circle in front of Old Main.
“It’s imperative for the project to be done before we vote for the presidential election,” Smith said.
If you or your organization are interested in taking part in the project, contact Elizabeth Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.