Seeking individuals to participate in

Her Life as Art: Coming Together Through Grandmother Stories

a special community project led by the Kansas City United Church of Christ, the UMKC Women’s Center, and the Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild


This art exhibit is central to a unique, multi-dimensional, week-long series of events. This call for artists is open to all individuals, of all skill levels who wish to celebrate the wisdom and legacy of the grandmother figures in their lives.

You may participate by:

  1. creating a 16” x 16” art quilt that tells the story of the importance of this grandmother figure in your own life, or
  2. by submitting an item created by your grandmother figure. This may be a poem, drawing, recipe, quilt, dress, apron, piece of pottery, doll, etc…(Please include a short explanation of your chosen This is an exhibit only. Artwork will not be for sale.)

This exhibit will be open to the public during the week of Saturday, November 6 – Friday, November 12, 2021 at Kansas City United Church of Christ (KCUCC), 205 West 65th St., Kansas City, MO 64113 

To Participate:

Drop off or mail your completed entry form to KCUCC (see address above) or email to: Jean Ayres, before Monday, October 25

  • Bring your entry to the church Tuesday, November 2, 10:00 a.m.-12 noon.
  • Pick up your entry Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m.-12 noon.

Organizing Committee:

Jean Ayres, KCUCC

Judy Long O’Neal, KCUCC

Karen Hartzler, KCUCC

Arzie Umali, UMKC Women’s Center

Sherry Dicus, Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

Yvette Morton – Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

For entry form, contact Jean Ayres,

CALL FOR ARTISTS: The Personal Universe

Presented by 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics and the UMKC Women’s Center, The Personal Universe will be a competitive exhibition featuring artists who identify as women or non-binary from across the globe.


  • First place
    A featured album on the 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics Facebook page.
  • Three Purchase awards
    The jury has arranged with personal collectors to purchase 1 piece from the exhibition.
  • A “People’s Choice” award will be given to the piece that receives the most Likes/Loves on its Facebook post.
  • Ceramics: Art & Perception subscription award for one year


  • January 4, 2021
    Entries accepted at
  • February 12, 2021
    Entries closed
  • March 17, 2021
    Exhibition opens
  • May 11, 2021
    Solo exhibition set up.

Rules and Regulations:

  • All submissions are electronic and should be sent to
  • Submission will be accepted between January 4 and February 12.
  • The work must either:
    a) Be made primarily of clay.
    b) Be video or performance work where clay is prominent element of the work.
  • All entries MUST include: Title of work, Date of work, Dimensions of work, Date of Work, Artist’s name, Artist Location or Academic Affiliation. While not required, artists are encouraged to include their personal website address in the entry.
  • Any person who identifies as female, gender-fluid, or non-binary can apply.
  • Two entries– including up to two images per person.
  • Submission of work will be considered a release by the artist to allow 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contributions to Ceramics organizers to use images in the exhibition as well as in any publication materials. Any use of images will include the maker’s name and contact method.
    • This release extends to publication of reviews of the exhibition on blogs, tweets, and in Facebook groups.
  • For the purchase award, the maker will be responsible for any shipping fees included in the sale of the work. The purchasers live in the United States.
  • All images need to be JPEG or PNG formatted.
  • Prices will be listed in the final exhibition. If no price is given, the work will be labeled “NFS.”
    • Will list prices in local currency ($, Australian $, €, ¥, R, etc…)
  • All entries must be original works of art.
  • All entries will be reviewed at the time of submission to ensure adherence to the artwork condition rules and regulations of the exhibit.
    • Inclusion/Exclusion in the exhibit is at the sole discretion of the Jury: Ms. Alex Kraft, Ms. Melanie Shaw, and Mr. Anthony Merino.
    • All works must adhere to Facebook’s policy regarding acceptable images.
  • “People’s Choice” award will be determined by total number of image Likes / Loves.
    • Likes = 1 point
    • Loves = 2 points
    • This award is independent of any other awards.

There is no formal application, just email the images and description to, with subject line “Entry for The Personal Universe.” Please attach images and include the following information:

  • Title, Date, Dimensions, Price
  • Artist’s Name
  • Artist’s Location/Professional Affiliation
  • Artist’s Country
  • Clay/Process Information (optional, please keep under 75 words)
  • Webpages and Social Media information (optional)

For more information or for questions regarding this exhibition, artwork submissions, or awards, please contact Anthony Merino at

For more information about 50 Women a Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics, check them out on Facebook.

Farewell to My Internship, But Not to the Women’s Center

By Allani Gordon

My time as the HerArt Project intern for the Women’s Center has been a defining and profound moment in my college experience. To be a part of a feminist organization, larger than anything I’ve ever been a part of before, and to work alongside so many brilliant women, has left an empowering impression on me.

When I walked into Brenda Bethman’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality class on my first day of freshman year, I had no inkling that this course would introduce me to an internship opportunity. I would’ve never expected I would be finishing my first year of college with experience at the Women’s Center under my belt. I’m so glad I can say that I have.

I’ve learned a lot of life-long skills and gained an immense amount of knowledge on women’s equity and women in the arts. I think I’ve learned even more about myself. Being much younger than everyone else at the center pushed me to evolve in order to perform at a professional level.

Despite the in-person aspects of my internship being cut short, I’m thankful for all the collaborative work I was able to do and help I was able to offer to my fellow interns with their on-campus events and programs. I’m proud of myself and the rest of the staff for being so resilient and adaptable to our online restrictions.

Brenda and Arzie have become supervisors-turned-mentors for me. I still have several years of college to go, but I know I can rely on them going forward. They’ll be around to offer me advice, give me guidance, or simply just have a good conversation with.

This will not be the last of my time at the Women’s Center. I won’t be an intern anymore, but I will continue to be a supportive member and advocate for everything the Women’s Center does.


“What About Her Art?” She’ll Tell You All About It

By Allani Gordon

When I was told to program some sort of event for the Her Art Project, as a requirement for my internship at the Women’s Center, I was enthralled and ignited with ideas. But little did I know how unique the situation would turn out to be, nor measured the creativity and innovation that had to be put into the event.

As I worked alongside the Interurban ArtHouse to curate the Who Does She Think She Is? Art show, I knew I wanted my event to coincide with the exhibit. I also knew I wanted my event to be about the women artists that are students here at UMKC. So, with the help of my supervisor, Arzie, we adapted a program for a one-day pop up exhibition that would take place on campus. We developed the title for the show “What About Her Art?” from a previous intern’s student art event. The show would feature artwork from four of UMKC’s female student artists: Makayla Booker, Lillian Taylor, Aliah Fisher, and Jasmine Alejandra.

Numerous forms were filled out, calls were made, and emails were sent to plan out the logistics of the event. The student art pop-up was coming to full fruition. Then boom. Pandemic. There was no possibility whatsoever that I could still have the event in person, nor did I have the resources to make a stellar virtual rendition of the show, like the InterUrban ArtHouse did for the “Who Does She Think She Is?” Show.

A few emails, some zoom meetings, and a Canva membership later, I was able to turn the “What About Her Art?” student art show into a digital platform. This way, it could be shared as a thread of posts that would mimic a “gallery” on the Women’s Center’s social media.

The women artists featured in the “show” have been incredibly understanding and cooperative throughout the process. The event is not perfect. And yes, I would die to see all of the students’ lovely work in a physical space together. Nevertheless, I’m proud of not only myself, but the artists who preserved through this situation with me, and my team members at the Women’s Center for their encouragement.

Check out the student featured artists on our social media!


Her Art Facebook:





InterUrban ArtHouse’s Influence on the Creative Spirit of UMKC

By Allani Gordon

While the Who Does She Think She Is? Art Exhibition ended a couple of weeks ago, we still want to highlight our university’s relationship with our fellow collaborator, the InterUrban ArtHouse, beyond their participation in our annual art show.

Before the show even took place in the InterUrban ArtHouse, the space’s founder and artistic director Nicole Emanuel had already been showing her loyalty to UMKC’s creative community. Nicole served as one of the first featured artists for the Who Does She Think She Is? Art Exhibition, and has been showing her support for the event ever since. It’s extremely fitting that the all-female show now regularly takes place in InterUrban ArtHouse, as Nicole’s dedication to the local artist community is a symbol of the perseverance and resilience of all female artists.

Wolfe Brack, the InterUrban ArtHouse’s operations manager, also does great work alongside the Women’s Center for Who Does She Think She Is?. Wolfe has an established history with UMKC’s creative life, as his first solo show took place at the UMKC African American Culture House. With the help of our fellow Women’s Center member and HerArt Project founder, Arzie Umali, Wolfe was able to curate his show on our campus. Twenty years later and Wolfe still has a profound memory of the show’s influence on him as an artist. In my interview with Wolfe, he stated that “having that show at UMKC showed me that my art was valued and bolstered my confidence enough to keep showing it.” Wolfe continues to pay homage to UMKC as he collaborates and curates with the Women’s Center and the HerArt project.

It’s important to recognize the efforts of our local organizations and their involvement with UMKC. InterUrban ArtHouse is a non-profit organization that strives to help maintain and evolve creative life not just in Kansas City, but here on our campus too.

Meet the Artist: Lynn Norris

By Elise Wantling

Lynn Norris is one of our wonderful artists whose art was featured in our art exhibition co-hosted with InterUrban ArtHouse titled Who Does She Think She Is? I had the pleasure of interviewing Lynn and learning a bit more about her and her art. Lynn is a three-dimensional artist who sews, weaves, and makes jewelry, pottery, and collages. Occasionally, she dabbles in two-dimensional art, which she describes as black and white doodles that “look like a machine just vomited parts up, and it is punctuated by faces and strange creatures that do not exist in real life”. Her work typically features lots of bright and bold color choices.

Lynn has always made art, but began using art as a form of therapy in 2004 at the KC Veterans Center, where she partook in an art therapy group on Friday mornings. Lynn is a survivor of military sexual trauma and copes with PTSD, and uses her art to help with this.

Lynn served in the US Navy from 1983-1987 and is a proud veteran. She was stationed at Pearl Harbor and Barber’s Point Naval Air base. She began by maintaining grounds and conducting VIP tours of the Arizona Memorial, then worked as a security guard at the ASWOC (Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center). She eventually became a Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Petty officer and worked in the base photo lab.

Though she enjoyed art, she admits she wasn’t the best at drawing. She started collecting free magazines from the VA Center and noticed they would make great collage material, since they had the colorful and pretty photos. She was taking an abstract art class with a friend through the Raytown school district at the time, and consulted the art teacher, Dennis Helsel. He agreed with her that making collages might be easier for her than drawing. He helped her “figure out how to pull it off” as she says. The first two collages Lynn made were made of totally random clippings. For the third collage she decided she wanted to make one look like a stained glass window, and that was a jumping off point for her. She divided the clippings according to color, then did colored sections highlighted by a paint pen. She’s been using that technique ever since and has made many beautiful pieces inspired by stained glass windows.

One symptom of Lynn’s PTSD is that she has trouble feeling safe, and to deal with that she became obsessively organized and tidy. Her collages are a break from this. Instead of having strict order, she is able to incorporate randomness and chaos into her art. Just the colors are sorted, other than that there is no logic to her arrangements. She even chooses the titles of the pieces by clipping phrases from the magazines and then drawing them out of a hat. The collages have allowed Lynn to let go of her obsessive-compulsiveness and enjoy being in the moment. In her collages, Lynn has found some freedom while also being able to indulge her artistic side.

You can see Lynn’s work, and the work of many other talented artist, in our online tour of the Who Does She Think She Is? Art show. You can also check out more of Lynn’s work on her website,

“Who Does She Think She Is?” And How Does She Make An Art Show Virtual?

By Allani Gordon

Amidst a pandemic, our world is changing rapidly each day. Every aspect of our lives is being altered, revised, and even removed from daily routine, and it has required a lot of creative thinking in order to remain optimistic and unified in this unique situation.

Credit: Jolynne Martinez.



For the Who Does She Think She Is? Art exhibition, this is especially true. As I worked alongside Arzie Umali, the founder of Her Art Project, and Wolfe Brack from InterUrban ArtHouse, it did not occur to us, after hours of curating, hanging, and rehanging art work, that the show might not be physically available to the public.

However, after mandated social distancing and quarantine became a surreal part of reality, the idea of pursuing an art show wasn’t even in consideration anymore- well, in person at least.

Despite the obstacles faced, this did not stop our team member Wolfe from transforming the annual art show into a virtual gallery. Now, almost anyone from anywhere can celebrate and appreciate the showcased artwork from the 50 stellar female artists of our Kansas City community.

The virtual gallery not only highlights the perseverance of creative minds during chaos, but also recognizes the brilliance of the female artists in our Kansas City community. The show’s main purpose is to explore the challenges and experiences of artistic fulfillment and career and bring together family among women artists in America. With that being said, during this unclear and troubling time, the Who Does She Think She Is? Art show can offer us solace, inspiration, and unification.

Check out the gallery yourself!

Virtual Gallery Tour:

Online Store:



C.J. Janovy: Women Who Lead in the Arts

By Chris Howard-Williams

Photo Credit: John Janovy, Jr.

On October 24, the UMKC Women’s Center will be hosting an event titled Women Who Lead in the Arts, a panel discussion that will feature local, leading women in arts careers.  Leading up to this event, the Women’s Center blog will highlight each of the women who will be involved in this unique discussion. Today, we focus on C.J. Janovy.

“It’s an especially tense time for women in our country right now, and art is one way people can immerse themselves in difficult ideas and find empathy for their fellow human beings. I’m excited to hear all of our panelists talk about how they do that. I imagine we’ll all leave the conversation with some skills we can use in our daily lives.”

C.J. Janovy joins the panel discussion as our moderator, and we are excited to have her!  A “Midwesterner by birth and ultimately by choice,” as she puts it, Janovy has been active in the Kansas City journalism scene for quite a while now.  She began as an alt-weekly journalist, which included a decade-long stint as editor of The Pitch, Kansas City’s Village Voice Media-owned publication.  Since August of 2014, she has worked for KCUR 89.3, which is Kansas City’s NPR affiliate.  Although she began by reporting on arts and culture (“which is the coolest beat in the business,” she quips on her website), she currently acts as their digital content editor, where she edits news and features for their website.

Gleaning from her years in Kansas City journalism, including her own stories, columns, and blog posts about culture and politics in Kansas, Janovy authored the book No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas.  Published earlier this year by University Press of Kansas, the book is described as “the epic story of how a few disorganized and politically naïve Kansans, realizing they were unfairly under attack, rolled up their sleeves, went looking for fights, and ended up making friends in one of the country’s most hostile states.”  In order to write the book, Janovy herself traveled across the state of Kansas, from the biggest cities to the smallest farm communities, to find local activists and document their stories, their struggles, and their triumphs.  

On a more personal note, despite having lived on both the West Coast (for an English degree from the University of California at Berkeley) and the East Coast (for a master’s in creative writing from Boston University) for some time, Janovy has decided to settle in a “Place Like Home where she writes her blog.  In July of 2015, she married her longtime partner just as soon as marriage equality was legal in every state.  We look forward to watching her “in action” as our moderator on October 24, and we hope to see you there as well!

The Women Who Lead in the Arts panel discussion will take place on October 24 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. in the Miller Nichols Library, Room 325, 800 E. 51st St.  This event is free and open to the public.  For more information or to RSVP, contact the Women’s Center at (816) 235-1638 or visit

Diane Petrella: Women Who Lead in the Arts

By Chris Howard-Williams

Photo Credit: James Allison

On October 24, the UMKC Women’s Center will be hosting an event titled Women Who Lead in the Arts, a panel discussion that will feature local, leading women in arts careers.  Leading up to this event, the Women’s Center blog will highlight each of the women who will be involved in this unique discussion. Today, we focus on Diane Petrella.

Without a doubt, one of the things UMKC is known for is its internationally recognized Conservatory of Music and Dance.  Enrolling about 600 students, the Conservatory enables those students to “interact with an exceptionally gifted faculty and with leading visiting artists in ways that are supportive, yet rigorous.”  Among this faculty is none other than our next featured panelist and recently named Dean of the Conservatory, Diane Petrella.

Diane Petrella’s appointment as Dean this past summer came at the request of Conservatory faculty and staff.  An honor, to be sure, this appointment is particularly unique in that it “marks the first time in the Conservatory’s 112-year history that a woman has held this post.”  Diane actually wears quite a few hats for the Conservatory on top of being appointed Dean.  Having been with the Conservatory since 2006, she is also currently Chair of the Keyboard Studies Division and Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy.  She teaches applied piano and piano pedagogy courses for the Conservatory and also coordinates the group piano program. With so many accomplishments under her many hats, it should come as no surprise that the Conservatory awarded her the Kauffman Award for Outstanding Service in the spring of 2015.

In addition to her work with the Conservatory, Diane has had many unique experiences in her life as a musician and music educator.  For example, she has collaborated with her husband and fellow Conservatory educator, Nick Patrella, on many projects. Together, they formed the Petrella Ensemble in 2002, a touring performance group that has traveled throughout the United States as well as Mexico, Poland, Austria, and the Czech Republic in an effort to perform and commission new music.  In 2006, they worked together to publish The Musicians Toolbox, Thoughts on Teaching and Learning Music, which was contracted for distribution by Alfred Publications in 2012.  Diane and Nick also collaborated on the article “I’ve Got Rhythm, I’ve Got Phrasing,” which was published in the August/September 2012 issue of American Music Teacher.  

According to her bio page on the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance’s website, Diane “has appeared as a soloist with several regional orchestras and is active as a soloist, collaborative pianist, speaker and adjudicator throughout the United States, including her recent appointment to the College of Examiners of the Royal Conservatory, Toronto, Canada.”  In addition to her roles as musician and educator, Diane is also a mother of five children, including 9-year-old triplets.  “I think managing a hectic home life has certainly honed my leadership and organizational skills,” she quips. We would agree, Diane!  We look forward to hearing more from you as well as our other panelists on October 24!

The Women Who Lead in the Arts panel discussion will take place on October 24 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. in the Miller Nichols Library, Room 325, 800 E. 51st St.  This event is free and open to the public.  For more information or to RSVP, contact the Women’s Center at (816) 235-1638 or visit

Cynthia Levin: Women Who Lead in the Arts

By Chris Howard-Williams

Photo Credit: Manon Halliburton

On October 24, the UMKC Women’s Center will be hosting an event titled Women Who Lead in the Arts, a panel discussion that will feature local, leading women in arts careers.  Leading up to this event, the Women’s Center blog will highlight each of the women who will be involved in this unique discussion. Today, we focus on Cynthia Levin.

Without a doubt, the Unicorn Theatre in Kansas City offers one of the most unique theatre-going experiences in the city. According to their mission statement, the Unicorn strives to enhance the Kansas City community “by developing and producing high-quality, thought-provoking plays that have never been seen in the region.”  With an emphasis on illuminating social issues and providing inclusive stories which include race, religion, and gender identity, the Unicorn Theatre stands as one of the most preeminent theatres in the city.  Serving as the Producing Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre is our next panelist to be featured – Cynthia Levin.

Quite the fixture at the Unicorn, Levin has been with the theatre for 39 of its 44 years in existence.  During that time, she has served as a director, actor, designer or producer for over 300 productions. Reading through a personal letter shared by her on the theatre’s website, Levin’s passion for the Unicorn and the unique plays it showcases is apparent.  “The idea of doing or seeing something you have never experienced before is exhilarating,” she says, “and we want to share that with you.”  With this mission in mind, it is interesting to note that 65 of the Unicorn’s 324 productions have been world premieres.

Levin’s work in the theatre world has extended beyond the Unicorn Theatre on more than one occasion.  She has directed plays such as Number the Stars and To Kill a Mockingbird for Kansas City’s Coterie Theatre, a local children’s theatre that seeks to open the lines of communication between races, sexes, and generations.  She has also directed readings at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for the MFA Playwright’s Workshop. In addition to her theatre work, Levin is a founding board member of the National New Play Network, which is an organization dedicated to the development and production of new works.  She has also been honored with numerous awards, including the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Human Rights Campaign Equality Award, and most recently the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award from the Actor’s Equity Association for her ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity. We look forward to hearing more about Cynthia Levin’s experiences soon as she joins our panel to discuss her role as a woman who leads in the arts!

The Women Who Lead in the Arts panel discussion will take place on October 24 at 1:00-2:30 p.m. in the Miller Nichols Library, Room 325, 800 E. 51st St.  This event is free and open to the public.  For more information or to RSVP, contact the Women’s Center at (816) 235-1638 or visit