A new monument honoring women’s suffrage, titled “A Path Forward,” was unveiled at the Utah State Capitol building on Aug. 20.
The monument commemorates the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote constitutionally and the 150th anniversary of the first woman to cast a vote in Utah.
Better Days 2020, a nonprofit organization that aims to bring awareness to women’s history, commissioned Weber State associate professor Jason Manley for this piece, along with Memphis University associate professor Kelsey Harrison.
The monument is made of bronze, stainless steel and concrete. It includes four doorways, with the last one surrounded by quotes from suffrage leaders such as Susan B. Anthony and Emmeline B. Wells.
In an artist’s statement, Harrison and Manley wrote, “This sculpture gives form to the words and deeds of advocates who achieved landmark victories for the women’s suffrage movement.”
The doorways lead to two chairs and a tea table, which has the text of Article 4 of the state constitution engraved into it. The other side of the doorways face the Capitol building.
Manley said he and Harrison created the monument this way so the viewer could experience the site by walking through and sitting in it.
To Manley, the monument is about looking to the people who led the way for equality for both women and people of color alike.
“The artwork is a way to bring attention to what else needs to be improved, such as restoring the Voting Rights Act, which was invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2013,” Manley said.
With national elections coming up, Manley hopes the monument will encourage the public to vote.
“Voting is the true way to honor the suffrage activists,” said Manley. “When you vote this November, you may also appreciate the rights we have but also consider what improvements we need to make on the voting system.”