This past weekend, DMA-events’ celebration of the upcoming 19th Amendment centennial, Walls for Women, kicked off with murals in downtown McMinnville and Tullahoma. This month-long, state-wide art initiative will knit together larger cities like Knoxville and Nashville with smaller towns such as Nolensville and Maryville in one giant creative placemaking project spearheaded by Tullahoma residents Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor.
The Tullahoma mural, “Wisteria Maiden,” painted by Japanese artist Juuri on the back of Memories Antiques was sponsored by Cycles Gladiator Wine and Sunbelt Rentals and will be completed on Friday.
With 2020 marking the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote, DMA-events kicks off the creation of 10 original murals this summer by female artists in multiple communities across Tennessee, the last of the necessary 36 states to secure ratification on Aug. 18, 1920.
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.
The mural project, inspired by the fight for women’s suffrage, will conclude in Nashville on the August 18 anniversary. The roster of muralists includes such notable talents as Cymone Wilder (Nashville), Sarah Painter (Tallahassee), Kim Radford (Nashville), Nicole Salgar (Miami), Jenny Ustick (Cincinnati), Juuri (Oklahoma City), Paris Woodhull (Knoxville), Tara Aversa (Nashville) and Whitney Herrington (Columbia). Communities hosting the murals include:
McMinnville, July 18-27
Tullahoma, July 19-24
Union City, dates TBD
Knoxville, Aug. 1-10
Maryville, Aug. 3-19
Greeneville, dates TBD
Nolensville, Aug. 6-10
Nashville, Aug. 6-18
Tullahoma, Aug. 20-28
Centerville, Aug. 24-31
The work will be painted on walls in high-visibility locations with the subject matter reflecting the individual artists’ professional talents.
“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.”
In addition to the creation of new art, DMA hopes to drive awareness to the importance in voting, both in 2020 local and federal elections, through the presence of these mural installations in a pivotal election year.
“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.
Photo: JUURI 従理 is a Tokyo-born muralist currently working from Oklahoma City. Her vibrant, figure-driven work fuses traditional Japanese and modern pop motifs. Her work is highly valued for clients desiring a colorful global feel. Her work is popular for hospitality, restaurants, overseas nonprofits, and revitalization efforts in cities. JUURI’s murals can be seen in Oklahoma City; Newark, NJ; Orlando, FL; Lynn, MA; Houston, TX; Virginia Beach, VA; Lafayette, IN; San Diego, and overseas in Israel.