UMKC celebrates women in the arts

Women’s Center hosts series of events in April and May

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) Women’s Center is hosting “Her Art – Kansas City Women in the Arts” – an event series that explores the unique challenges female artists in America face as they juggle motherhood, careers and their artistic callings.

The series is sponsored by the UMKC Women’s Center, UMKC Department of Communication Studies and The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. The Women’s Employment Network is providing support, as well.

Following is a schedule of events:

6 p.m., Friday, April 2 – Opening reception for “Her Art: Who Does She Think She Is?” at The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center, 2012 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.

This art exhibit, which runs from April 2 to May 28, will bring together a diverse group of Kansas City’s most talented female artists. Artists will submit works that answer the question, “Who Does She Think She Is?” The intent is to create a collection of autobiographical works that are evocative, emotionally-charged, personal and narrative. The theme of femininity, motherhood and work/life balance will ring throughout the show.

Holly Swangstu, managing director of The Leedy-Voulkos Art Center; Arzie Umali, assistant director of the UMKC Women’s Center and past program coordinator for the UMKC African-American History and Culture House; and Nicole Emanuel, a community muralist, public artist and writer will serve as curators.

Noon, Wednesday, April 7 – “From Guy-Blanche to Bigelow: Women Behind the Camera in Hollywood Cinema” in Room 303 of UMKC’s Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st Street, Kansas City, Mo.

Only four women have ever been nominated for the Oscar for Best Director. This year, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win that Oscar. Though it’s not always recognized, women have been a part of the fabric of American film history since movies began.

Caitlin Horsmon, assistant professor in the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Communication Studies will trace the 100-year history of women’s roles as Hollywood film directors. Bring a lunch and join in the discussion.

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 13 – “Who Does She Think She Is?” – Documentary Screening and Panel Discussion at the Tivoli Theater, 4050 Pennsylvania Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

This documentary focuses on five bold female artists, each radically different in background, race, religious creed and choice of artistic field. Despite their differences, these women share the challenge of building careers in various art fields while balancing marriage, motherhood and economic survival.

A panel discussion will follow the screening. Horsmon will moderate the discussion, which includes the following panelists: Maria Buszek, assistant professor of art history at the Kansas City Art Institute; Ritchie Kaye, Kansas City artist; Jennifer Martin, Hall Family Foundation Professor of Theatre at UMKC; and Linda Rodriguez, vice president of the Kansas City, Mo.-based Latino Writers Collective and former director of the UMKC Women’s Center.

The documentary trailer is available at The cost to attend is $4 or free for UMKC students, staff and faculty. Tickets are available at the Tivoli Theater box office.

6 p.m., Tuesday, April 27 – “Artists Salon: The State of Women in the Arts in Kansas City” at the Diastole Scholars’ Center, 2501 Holmes St., Kansas City, Mo.

This event will begin with a 6 p.m. reception hosted by local artist Sonie Ruffin.

At 6:30 p.m., local female artists, musicians, performers, arts educators and arts professionals will discuss the state of Kansas City women in the arts. Anyone is welcome to join the discussion or just listen in. The discussion will be facilitated by Renee Blanche, host of “Night Tides” on KCUR 89.3 FM.

April 1-30 – “Women Artists Book Display” in Room 303 of Miller Nichols Library, 800 E. 51st St., Kansas City, Mo.

Miller Nichols Library will display books about some of the most creative women in visual arts, music, dance, film, theater and literature.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.

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