Alfred, NY – On the hundredth anniversary of equal voting rights in New York, a colorful team of art superheroes are planning a tribute to the suffragettes behind the movement. Alfred University’s Art Force 5 program uses community-based art to engage audiences in dialogue while also creating powerful mosaic portraits. The four day tour will run from November 3 to November 6, the final day marking the actual anniversary of the statewide vote which granted voting equality.

At each tour site, the Art Force 5 will invite the public to paint one simple tile of a 300+ mosaic portrait. Anticipated suffragette portraits may include Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Hester Jeffrey, Carrie Chapman Catt, Alice Paul and Alfred University’s own Abigail Allen. Students will research the suffragettes, design the portraits, and engage participants in conversations about the movement. The tour will begin on Friday, November 3 in New York City with a “roving day” of public spaces followed by a private alumni function at Brooklyn Bridge Marriott. The tour will continue with Albany’s Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference (Nov. 4), a stop in Rochester, likely at Susan B. Anthony’s gravesite (Nov. 5) and a final evening reception at Alfred University on the actual anniversary of the vote (Nov. 6).

“Painting one tile will take one participant five to ten minutes,” shared Mawia Elawad, the student captain whose involvement with Art Force 5 has been featured in USA Today. “During that short time, amazing conversations occur amongst participants or between the Art Force 5 and participants. Often, people will sit much longer just because of the constructive and comfortable dialogue.”

The Art Force 5 has proven their affinity for engaging communities through creativity. In 2016, they were awarded the Unite Rochester Challenge grant and created opportunities for the Rochester Police Department to make art alongside community members. During the first half of 2017, the team conducted a statewide tour building mosaics and raising awareness of 1917’s East St. Louis Riots and portraits of the leaders of the subsequent 1917 Silent Parade. The final works were exhibited at both the NAACP National Convention in Baltimore and at the State University of New York (SUNY) Central Administration in Albany, NY (pictured).

Interested hosts are asked to contact program director Dan Napolitano at or 607-382-9150.

Tentative Tour schedule

  • Friday, October 20* at Alfred, NY / Alfred University  (All day) making Alice Paul mosaic
    *A special preview program recognizing the 100th anniversary of Alice Paul’s arrest and the incarceration of the Silent Sentinels.
  • Friday, November 3, “Roving Day” in NYC, various locations (10am-4pm) making Carrie Chapman Catt mosaic
  • Friday, November 3, Brooklyn Alumni Reception (6pm-9pm) making Hester Jeffrey mosaic
  • Saturday, November 4 in Albany / Women’s Suffrage Conference  (9am-8pm) mosaic-making tba
  • Sunday, November 5 in Rochester / RIT or S.B.A. gravesite (10am-4pm) making a Susan B. Anthony mosaic
  • Monday, November 6 back in Alfred, NY / Alfred University (6:30pm-8:30pm) making a Abigail Allen mosaic.