Maddie Ziegler

Image Sourced Via Creative Commons through Google Images

Image Sourced Via Creative Commons through Google Images

By Rocky Richards

I’m certain almost everyone had their eyes glued to the television last Sunday for the 2015 Grammys! I mean did you see Sia’s Chandelier performance? For so long many have drooled over the song and the video. I’m sure many have wondered who that captivating young dancer is. Everyone meet Maddie Ziegler.

Maddie Ziegler was born on September 30, 2002 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Many may know her from the Chandelier video, but Maddie started her career with the Abby Lee Dance Company which was made famous by the reality show Dance Moms. Even though Abby is constantly perfecting Maddie’s work we all can see how far she’s pushing her! Maddie not only trains in tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, acro, jazz and aerial dance but she is also a model, actress, and fashion designer.

I think that it’s very important that we push our girls to go after their dreams at a young age, no matter what people would think about that. Maddie was two years old when she found herself dancing. Now, because of the support of her parents she has performed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Dancing with the Stars, Saturday Night Live, Hollywood Bowl and many more. We have to teach children the importance of arts at a young age and expose children to their dreams at a young age so that when they grow up there they won’t feel defeated by the box society tries to put them in. Here’s to Maddie for continuing to chase after her dreams at just 12 years old! Let’s support all girls chasing after their dreams!

Vagina Monologues to be Staged at UMKC!

2015-VDAY-posterBy Kacie Otto and Kemora Williams

Name of Event: The Vagina Monologues

Date and Time: February 10, 2015 at 7pm

Location: UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street

Admission charge: $10 for students, $20 for non-students in advance and $15 for students, $25 for non-students at the door.

Parking information: Parking will be available on the fifth floor of the Cherry St. Parking Garage

Coming up on February 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m., the Women’s Center is sponsoring a benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues. Funds raised from the event will support the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project and VDay’s 2015 spotlight campaign, One Billion Rising. The Vagina Monologues will be held at the UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry Street. However tickets are required for this event, which you can purchase online at or by calling 816-235-6222. Tickets are also available at the door.

For more information, visit our VDay website. The Vagina Monologues is sure to be an empowering performance and we hope to see you there! What better way to support both the campus and community!

Shrink Your Stress!

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

Source: Google Images Through Creative Commons

By Jesse Bihlmeyer

Yikes! Thanksgiving break has come and gone – now, it’s almost finals week. I’ve been studying, cramming, and spending countless hours immersed in my books in order to come out of finals on top. The multitude of finals, essays, and projects swamp us students in stress – making this time incredibly difficult to manage social, personal, and interpersonal relationships.

But at the Women’s Center, we facilitated an art workshop as a way to help students balance the pressure of finals with the pressures of life. On the December 5, 2014 we created shrink art and self-care coupons and asked students to join. We made shrink art (Shrinky Dinks) for a relaxation session that people deserved. People had the opportunity to take all of their wonderful de-stress ideas and create them on shrink art to prepare themselves for the hectic end of the semester.

This was a chance to think about something happy, something relaxing, and was also something that students could give themselves – which they did not need to buy. In addition, people had the opportunity to design self-care coupons they can give to themselves (or others) during finals week to take a break from the stress- it may have been a break from studying, a bath, free T.V. time, a long chat with a friend, or quiet time! It’s important to remember that part of being a successful student means making time for yourself.

Still I Ask, What About Her Art?

picBy DeDe Jones

Towards the beginning of the semester, I wrote a blog entitled, “What about Her Art?” In my blog I expressed how women artists are underrepresented compared to men artists. 51% of visual artists today are women. Even though this is a bit over half, female representation in U.S. art galleries is just 13%! Yes, I am an artist, a young artist, but still a woman artist. So I can relate to this underrepresentation that continues to affect women artists. A lot of people are recognized for the great things they do, which is good, but why not do that for everyone, like women artists?

Well to make a change in this underrepresentation, as a Her Art Project intern at the Women’s Center, I decided to put on a showcase of women artists right here on campus! As I stated in my previous blog, there are fifteen people in my current painting class, two men and THIRTEEN women! So, we are clearly here, we’re just not being recognized and valued like we should. Well, on Wednesday December 3, 2014, that’s going to change. On that day from 11 am-1 pm on the Jazzman’s stage in the Student Union, there will be a showcase of artwork created by the women artists in the Art & Art History department. Support your campus and help these women feel valued and supported by checking out their work. There will also be opportunities to win some prizes for being quizzed on your knowledge of women in the arts. So, what about Her Art you ask? We can tell you at our showcase!

For more information, contact the Women’s Center at 816-235-1638.

In Case You Missed It – Great Blogs You May Not Have Seen Over the Winter Break


Image from Google Images, via Creative Commons

Image from Google Images, via Creative Commons

Check out these great feminist blogs from over the holiday break!

1. “Jane Campion to Lead Cannes 2014 Jury”
Jane Campion, Director and one of the largest critics of Hollywood’s discrimination against women, has been selected to oversee the Cannes Film Festival.

2. “The Refutation of ‘Good Hair’ and the ‘Consumption’ of Kanekalon Hair.”
Photographer Nakeya B. makes a statement about  hair, portraying the importance (good and bad) that hair has for women of color in the media and everyday life.

3. “10 Ways to Keep Up the Feminist Fight in 2014”
This article highlights some steps to take in 2014 to promote gender equity.

4.“What’s like as the First Transgender MMA Fighter? Meet Fallon Fox.”
Check out this biographical piece about the first transgender MMA fighter who identifies as female.

5. “New Campus Rape Bill Written with Help from Sexual Assault Survivors”
This article is informative about how California is revising the Education Code with regard to sexual violence by listening to the thoughts and opinions of assault survivors.

6. “The Price of Being Female and on the Internet”
This guest blog highlights how legal action should be improved to deal with cyber stalking, and other online crimes that women face on a day to day basis.

7. “Thoughts on Women and the Wolf of Wall Street
This article examines the view of the world that the film portrays, specifically with regard to the role of women in the film.

8. “Bitch Tapes: Favorite Feminist Music Finds of the Year”
Bitch Magazine compiled a list of their writers’ favorite feminist artists and songs from 2013. Take a peek at it and maybe you’ll find some new favorite artists!

9. “Blockbuster Films Featuring Actual Female Characters Made Serious Money in 2013”
Check out this short article (and infogaphic) proving that 2013 films that featured meaningful, life-like female characters made more at the box office than those that simply objectified women and focused on people who identified as male.

10. “Recovering from an Abusive Relationship”
Read one woman’s story about her recovery after leaving her abuser, and how she came to realizations that changed her life.

Shop to Support the Her Art Project

Come support the Her Art Project at STUFF in Brookside on December 5!

Do you need to get some holiday shopping done? Then why not help support the Her Art Project while you shop?!

The Her Art Project strives to support the achievements of local women artists of all disciplines and advance the equity of all women in the arts in Kansas City by. Its mission is to provide programs and services that address issues that are relevant to women artists in Kansas City and advance women’s equity in the arts

Help support the Her Art Project, as well as a great local business, STUFF, at this private shopping party on Thursday, December 5, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.  STUFF will donate 15% of the sales during the party to the Her Art Project.

Light refreshments served. Please RSVP:

For more information about STUFF, please visit their website.

For more information on this or other Her Art Project and Women’s Center events, please visit our website.

You can “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@UMKC_Womenc) and Tumblr, as well!

Women are WONDERful Artists: There Needs to be Gender Equality in the Arts

Let's crush the gender gap in art! "Like" the Her Art project page on Facebook, and help support female artists in Kansas City!

Let’s crush the gender gap in art!
“Like” the Her Art project page on Facebook, and help support female artists in Kansas City!

By Anna-Maria Kretzer

The other night I was watching the Antiques Roadshow and I saw a story about a mobile by Alexander Calder that I got really excited about.  The woman who brought it explained that Calder had attended a party at her aunt and uncle’s house in 1958.  When he saw a pillow that the woman’s aunt had embroidered with an image of his artwork, Calder was “astounded.”  I imagine he had never seen modernist abstract imagery interpreted in a textile medium before that.  Calder was so excited about the pillow that the woman’s aunt gave it to him.  And in return Calder sent her one of his own creations: a mobile.

As a huge fan of textile arts I was thrilled to hear this story!  Alexander Calder recognized the aesthetic value of a needlepoint pillow as equal to his own work during a time that pretty much anything a woman might make in her own home had inferior status to art made by men in studios.  Although many feminist writers, including Rozsika Parker and Griselda Pollock, have written about art forms that have traditionally been made by women, they are often still placed way below painting and sculpture in the hierarchy of high art.  A growing number of professional artists use “craft” media in work that is destined for a museum or gallery, but there is still a prejudice against people who learn their technical skills at home from a relative instead of at an art school.

Alexander Calder was able to see past the rigid boundaries of the established boundaries of what ART was in his time.  A newfound respect for Calder blossomed within me as I watched the show.  The appraiser, Christopher Kennedy, went on to explain that the mobile in question was probably made earlier than ’58, and that Calder was making larger “public art” by that time.  In contrast, this mobile was constructed on a smaller and more intimate scale.  Even so, the appraiser revealed that it would probably bring a million dollars at auction.  The story about Calder’s interest in a needlepoint pillow and the exchange that followed had almost roused me to that complete state of awe experienced by art nerds such as myself when I heard the (male) appraiser say, “Not bad for a pillow.”

My awe switched instantly to anger.  Calder may have valued a needlepoint pillow as much as one of his works of art, but the appraiser obviously didn’t.  His condescending comment made it clear that sexist ideas about what art is and who makes it are still very much alive today.  I wish I could see the pillow that “astounded” Calder so.  I would love to see it in exhibit with the mobile that Calder gave in thanks.  Especially if that meant that a needlepoint pillow would be on display in the Modern gallery at a prominent museum!

To support women in the arts in Kansas City, and promote gender equity in the arts, “like” our Her Art Project Facebook Page.

“Quilted Friendship: The Art of NedRa Bonds and Nancy Dawson” will be Curated by our Her Art Project Intern, Anna-Maria!

QuiltsBy Anna-Maria Kretzer

I love quilts and quilting practices, and I am always looking for new ways to exhibit them.  It is important to show people that quilts are more than covers or objects to be hung on gallery walls; they are often an index of relationships and social networks.  That is why I got really, really excited when I heard that NedRa Bonds, my favorite Kansas City artist, and her friend Nancy Dawson were collaborating on a project with school children from Kansas City, Kansas.  In fact, I was so excited that I was inspired to organize an exhibit in support of their endeavor.

The exhibition, titled Quilted Friendship: The Art of NedRa Bonds and Nancy Dawson, will be available for viewing from November 3 to December 15 on the first floor of the Miller Nichols Library.  Three of the quilts in the exhibition are actually part of the Hero Quilt Project.  They feature drawings of local heroes chosen from a list Bonds has been taking to schools in KC, KS.  The idea is to teach the students there about local heroes so that they will have healthy role models.  After the children learn about local heroes they have the opportunity to make drawings of their favorite heroes which Bonds then transfers to cloth so that they can be made into quilts.

In the final phase of the Hero Quilt Project Nancy Dawson and other members of her acting group will incorporate the Hero Quilts into a performance of If Da Dirt Could Talk at the Juneteenth 2014 festivities at the Old Quindaro Cemetery.  There will be photographs of past performances in Quilted Friendship showing how the Hero Quilts will be used.  The play, written by Dawson, recounts the life of one of her favorite heroes, Elizabeth Thompson.  Thompson was a slave who ran to the free state of Kansas before the Civil War.  She spent the rest of her life in Quindaro and raised a family; Dawson is also her granddaughter.

Quilted Friendship is a chance for people to learn about The Hero Quilt Project, as well as an opportunity for the children who have participated in the project to see their artwork in an exhibition right alongside the work of professional artists.  In addition to the Hero Quilts that have already been completed, the exhibition will include quilts made individually by Bonds and Dawson.  The opening reception will be Sunday November 3 from 3-5pm at the Miller Nichols Library on the UMKC Volker Campus.  Please come and tell any quilt-lovers you know about it too!

A Wonder Woman and Inspiring Chicana: Dr. Norma E. Cantú

Picture from

Picture from

By Maritza Gordillo

Dr. Norma E. Cantú is a postmodernist writer and an English and Latina/Latino Studies professor at UMKC. Her areas of specialization are: border studies, Chicano/a literature, cultural studies, folklore, and feminist studies. I recently went to a book reading she had on September 5, 2013 at the Central Library on one of her award winning books, Canícula, as well as other works of hers. The pieces she read were inspired by her own life experiences and with lots of humor like in one of her recent projects, Hair.

After hearing her childhood experiences, I have come to realize that we all have our own story that we should be writing. As women, we go through a lot of experiences from childhood to adulthood changing physically, emotionally, economically, etc… that make us who we are. We need to embrace them and share them with others. Dr. Cantú continues to inspire me through her work as an empowering Chicana, feminist, and poet. I feel honored to have her as my professor, to have her as a friend, and to have her as a mentor.

We came, we saw, we celebrated: WONDERful WOMEN at the Plaza Art Fair

Plaza Art123By Anna-Maria Kretzer

Her Art Project at the Plaza Art Fair, was a great success! We had beautiful weather, and a lot of people came out to play in the sun! Kids and adults alike kept busy making superhero/super-heroine masks, crafting Mami Wata dolls with local fiber artist Nedra Bonds, and posing against our skyline backdrop. Wonder Woman came by on Sunday and made our celebration complete!

We would like to give a huge “thank you” to our co-sponsors: the UMKC Conservatory of Music & Dance – Community Music & Dance Academy, UMKC Department of Theater, and the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.

Plaza Art81Plaza Art145
In case we didn’t get to see your beautiful face this weekend, be sure to stop by our office at 105 Haag Hall to pick up a calendar of events for the semester. We are open 8am – 5pm every weekday.

For more information on this or other Her Art Project and Women’s Center events, please visit our website, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.