The University of Central Arkansas opened its celebration of the centennial of the suffrage movement Aug. 26 with the fiber arts exhibit Threads Through Time. In keeping with the Suffrage Centennial theme, activities are planned through September and into October.
UCA will host a Suffrage Centennial event, American Women in Music and Prose, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall. Admission is free, and reservations are not required.
The program will include a faculty chamber concert, curated by UCA professor of violin Linda Hsu and featuring all women composers, including pieces by Amy Beach (1867-1944), Gail Robertson (b. 1965), Florence Price (1887-1953) and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (b. 1939).
The evening will also feature a poetry reading by Patricia Poulter, UCA provost and executive vice president.
To abide by COVID-19 health guidelines set forth by the Arkansas Department of Health, attendees must maintain 6 feet of distance from others and wear face coverings at all times while inside the Reynolds Performance Hall. No food or drinks will be allowed in the building.
“The arts were such a big part of the suffrage movement because they have the power to inspire and motivate people, critical in fueling any revolutionary movement,” said Gayle Seymour, associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “I’m so pleased that the concert will feature all women composers, including a work by Little Rock native Florence Price, the first African-American woman to gain national recognition for her symphonies.”
Seymour is one of the lead organizers of UCA’s Suffrage Centennial, which includes a series of multidisciplinary arts events and installations intended to inspire conversation and celebrate this landmark moment in American history.
Other Suffrage Centennial events include a temporary sculptural installation titled “Shag Pools,” led and overseen by New York-based artist Sharon Louden; a suffrage dance performance by CORE Dance Co.; spoken-word suffrage speeches by The Writeous Poets; and more.
Louden will work with a group of student apprentices to create a temporary sculptural installation in Alumni Circle titled “Shag Pools.” The installation is scheduled for Sept. 28 through Oct. 5.
Seymour said Louden’s “Shag Pools” will resemble domestic rugs (as in shag rugs), highlighting the traditional place of women in the home.
“Created with the materials and techniques associated with building a gravel road, Louden and her team will construct the polychrome ‘Shag Pools’ out of locally sourced crushed stone and polished recycled glass,” Seymour said. “Designed to be barrier-free and walked upon, ‘Shag Pools’ will be used as performance venues for multidisciplinary suffrage activities.”
Seymour said Louden’s installation will also include animated video projections of her abstract forms, allowing the work to have a nighttime function. The projection will be located on the center section of the facade of Old Main and run in a continuous loop during the evenings of the celebration week. The three-minute video will conclude with a QR code that links to a website containing information about the artwork and its relation to the suffrage celebration.
For more information about the Suffrage Centennial and associated events and artists, visit uca.edu/cahss/suffrage-centennial.