A celebrated Tennessee artist honors Lawrence County’s suffrage history in new piece.
LAWRENCEBURG, TN, April 8, 2022 — Tennessee artist Megan Lingerfelt honored Lawrence County’s history in the women’s suffrage movement with a colorful new mural that spans a 50-foot-long wall in downtown Lawrenceburg. The project was a collaborative effort between DMA-events, Tennessee Arts Commission and South Arts, who oversaw the Southeast’s award of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Women’s Suffrage Centennial campaign.
After receiving news of the award in fall 2020, DMA-events put out a public call for Tennessee cities with strong historical ties to the suffrage movement. After receiving a dozen applicants, a panel of DMA and TAC members chose Sweetwater and Lawrenceburg as the project’s recipient cities, and New York Styles salon owner Ashley Smith offered up her wall as a canvas (119 E. Gaines St.). The Sweetwater mural was completed in May 2021, while the Lawrenceburg mural took longer to come to fruition due to necessary masonry work on the building’s exterior.
DMA commissioned original sketches from five Southern female artists, and in a mock election meant to emulate the power of voting and democratic governance, the fifth-grade students in the Lawrence County school system chose to bring Megan Lingerfelt’s piece, Wave of Lace, to life in their downtown. Lingerfelt previously worked with DMA on a sister mural entitled Magnolia that went up in nearby Viola last fall.
“I use a lot of linework in my designs and had been playing with several Art Deco patterns in my sketches when I was asked to create this piece. Being a centennial celebration of the suffrage vote in 1920, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to use these patterns in a mural,” the artist says of her design. “The white magnolia and lace are nods to the white dresses worn by the suffragettes, one of the most recognizable symbols of the movement. With a hand gesturing toward a ballot box in a sea of saturated colors, this piece is meant to brighten Downtown Lawrenceburg while celebrating some of its past.”
About Lawrenceburg’s suffrage history
While Tennessee was the 36th and final state to ratify the 19th Amendment in August 1920, Lawrenceburg was ahead of the curve. The Lawrence Democrat—the predecessor to today’s The Democrat-Union, the county paper since 1884—was a champion of many early-20th century progressive causes, and its editors consistently supported giving women the right to vote. The first time a woman voted in Lawrenceburg was on May 13, 1919; many prominent society women went to the polls together that afternoon. Overall, The Democrat reported that 161 women, both Black and white, participated in that first mixed-sex municipal election in 1919.
Local partner Michelle Gantz, who helped move this project forward, is eager to build upon Lingerfelt’s piece and expand Lawrenceburg’s public art footprint. “Downtown Lawrenceburg is excited to have this beautiful mural downtown to celebrate women’s rights and the storied history for everyone to enjoy,” the executive director of Downtown Lawrenceburg.
In a joint statement issued by Michele Gantz of Main Street Lawrenceburg & the Lawrence County Chamber’s Ryan Egly, “Our organizations are proud to celebrate Lawrence County’s rich history by partnering with DMA-Events and the Tennessee Arts Commission to bring more public art to our community. We appreciate the thoughtfulness of artist Megan Lingerfelt and the role our students had in selecting the design.”
About the artist
Megan Lingerfelt grew up in Western North Carolina and studied drawing and painting at UNC Asheville. After graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, she spent the following years building her studio practice in Seattle, where she discovered a love for murals. She now lives in Oak Ridge, where she continues to work in public art with her large-scale pieces adorning walls across the state of Tennessee.
Inspired by natural elements and engineered forms, Megan’s work engulfs the bits and pieces that make her mural locations unique. She mingles local subject matter with weaving shapes and line work in dreamy jewel tones and desaturated mid-hues on surfaces of all sizes. Her compositions place an emphasis on light, contrast and myriad repetitive forms. When creating for public spaces, she works to imbue the character of each site into a design that may serve as a visual distinct place to the community where it resides.
About DMA-events, Inc.
Journalists Kristin Luna and Scott van Velsor started 501(c)(3) DMA-events in May 2018 as a catalyst to provide free access to art to rural communities throughout the South, with over 40 large-scale murals successfully completed to date. In April 2021, DMA-event’s Walls for Women program was awarded the Daughters of the American Revolution’s state public relations and media award for commitment to historic preservation, education and patriotism consistent with the DAR mission.
Lawrenceburg joins Tullahoma, McMinnville, Maryville, Knoxville, Centerville, Nashville, Nolensville, Sweetwater, Viola, and Columbia on the Walls for Women Trail across Tennessee. All of DMA-events’ murals can be found here: http://bit.ly/DMAMuralMap.
For more information, interviews and images, please contact DMA-events President Kristin Luna at email@example.com or 931-808-9165.
Contact: Kristin Luna Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.dma-events.com