Founded in 1971 as the Women’s Resource Service in the Division of Continuing Education, the UMKC Women’s Center is one of the oldest campus-based women’s centers in the U.S. and the second oldest in the Midwest. In 2011-12, the Center celebrated 40 years of service to the women and men of UMKC and the Kansas City community in a variety of ways.
40th Anniversary Projects
Trailblazers’ Blend: The Women’s Center worked with local Kansas City coffee roaster The Roasterie todesign a custom blend for the 40th Anniversary.
Women’s Equity Quilt: Over 100 Kansas City community members, UMKC students, faculty, and staff participated in the creation of the Women’s Equity Quilt. Led by fiber artist Nedra Bonds, each participant created a square for the quilt. The final quilt was finished by local quilter Sheryl Schleicher.
“So Beautiful” Song: The Women’s Center commissioned local singer/songwriter Barclay Martin to write a song in honor of the 40th Anniversary. The song was recorded at UMKC by the Barclay Martin Ensemble and premiered at the Gala in April 2012.
40th Anniversary Events
Quilting Workshops and Camps, Spring and Summer 2011 – spring workshops and summer camps were led by local textile artist Nedra Bonds. Participants made squares representing a personal story of women’s equity for the Women’s Equity Quilt.
Open House / Quilts on the Quad, October 2011 – the Open House kicked off the 40th Anniversary, while Quilts on the Quad was an outdoor art installation featuring over 200 quilts created by local quilt artists and members of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild.
Lecture: “Quilts That Changed the World: Women, Movements, Healing, and Art” by Dr. Nancy Dawson, Quilt Artist & Professor of Africana Studies, November 2011 – Visiting speaker Dr. Nancy Dawson discussed the intersection of quilting, activism, and community-building using examples from the work of local textile artist Nedra Bonds.
Women’s Equity Quilt Dedication, November 2011 – The finished Women’s Equity Quilt was unveiled and formally dedicated to the Women’s Center by Nedra Bonds at a reception at the new Kauffman Center for Performing Arts.
Exhibit Opening: “Stitches: An Exhibit of Textiles by Nedra Bonds featuring the Women’s Equity Quilt,” February 2012 – this art exhibit featured the textile works of Nedra Bonds including the Women’sEquity Quilt. The opening reception included a play inspired by the quilt written by local playwright and UMKC alumna Kathleen Shaw and produced by the UMKC Dept. of Theater and UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance.
Vanguards & Visionaries Reception, March 2012– this reception honored the past leadership of the UMKC Women’s Center at the opening of the exhibit Vanguards and Visionaries which featured local women artists who helped shape the visual arts of Kansas City over the past four decades.
Gala, April 2012 – the Gala featured the Barclay Martin Ensemble, who premiered the song “So Beautiful,” as well as a silent auction and a very popular photo booth. More than 200 people attended and $47,780 was raised to benefit the Women’s Center.