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Arts & Culture

Women's Right To Vote Centennial: First Ladies, Rhetoric, And A Fresno Portrait Exhibit

A rare collection of First Ladies portraits can be seen through January at Fresno City Hall


This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The Fresno League of Women Voters is kicking off its celebration with a month-long First Ladies portrait exhibit at city hall showcasing a rare collection of oil paintings. But just how active in the suffrage movement were some of the First Ladies? Here to talk with FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel is Fresno State Communication Professor Diane Blair. She studies the communications strategies, also known as rhetoric, of First Ladies. 

Credit Ma Ly
Fresno-based artist Ma Ly painted the portrait of Michelle Obama. All of the other First Ladies, except for Melania Trump, were painted by portrait artist Lawrence Williams.

The City Hall First Ladies portrait exhibit runs through the month of January. It’s sponsored by the Fresno League of Women Voters and the Fresno County Office of the Superintendent. All but two of the portraits were painted by the artist Lawrence Williams. The portrait of Michelle Obama was painted by Fresno-based artist Ma Ly.