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Altered Flags

Dawn Hanson’s Freedom Flag art is the result of her love for quilt art combined with her passion for the freedom of expression. Her Freedom Flag series uses the most iconic symbol of American freedom– the stars and stripes – to make a statement about individual liberty and justice for all.

Dawn created the first Reproductive Freedom Flag in 2005 as a gift for Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Dawn has long been a supporter, volunteer and advocate for Planned Parenthood for its work to provide safe, accessible and affordable health care and pregnancy prevention. The Reproductive Freedom Flag was designed to celebrate the oral contraceptive as a historical milestone in womankind’s quest for freedom from unwanted pregnancy and as a crucial part of reproductive self-determination for women.

All of Dawn’s Freedom Flags are a commentary on and celebration of equality in America – from the freedom of reproductive rights to the freedom to marry to economic and racial justice and a whole lot of topics in between. Her goal is to increase awareness of the importance of equality and to encourage activism that will result in positive change. Her work has been called “patriotism with a punch.”

Much of Dawn’s earliest artwork was given as gifts or donated to nonprofit organizations for fundraising purposes. In mid-2014, the Dittrick Medical History Center in Cleveland installed one of her Reproductive Freedom Flags as a part of its permanent museum collection.

After the 2014 mid-term elections Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz, wrote about Dawn and her flag art in an article on Creators.com. The ensuing conversation on social media sparked national interest in Dawn’s work – gaining her both supporters and detractors of the Freedom Flag series. Dawn is happy to add to the conversation about reproductive justice and equality. “Haters gonna hate,” she says, “but I consider my Freedom Flag art to be part protest, part celebration and 100% patriotic.”

All of Dawn’s Freedom Flag art quilts are her original designs and she creats each one individually in her Cleveland Heights, Ohio home studio. They are machine pieced and quilted with hand-sewn embellishments. While the quilts have common themes, each one is individually made and is a unique work of art.

Due to popular demand, and because art (like birth control) should be affordable and accessible to all, Dawn has made the Reproductive Freedom Flag available for purchase as posters, notecards, and postcards.

In the spring of 2015, a series of new flags were unveiled that celebrate LGBT rights, feminism and other aspects of freedom and equality.  

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