Celebrating WONDERful WOMEN at the Plaza Art Fair

Plaza Art Fair 2013 AnnouncementDon a Superhero/superheroine mask and come meet Wonder Woman at our Her Art Project Booth this weekend at the Plaza Art Fair!

The Women’s Center and Her Art Project will be at the Plaza Art Fair on the Country Club Plaza. The art fair is an annual event that features artists from all around the nation. RSVPs are not necessary for this event.

Her Art Project booth in the Experience ArtsKC area (47th and Broadway). Stop by to create Mami Wata Dolls, take your picture with Wonder Woman, and find out about programs that support women in the arts.

The booth will be open at the following times:

  • Friday, September 20, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 21, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This event is Co-sponsored by the UMKC Conservatory of Music & Dance – Community Music & Dance Academy, UMKC Department of Theater, and the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City.

For more information about the Plaza Art Fair, please visit the Country Club Plaza’s website.

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

“Stop Telling Women to Smile” Exemplifies Artistic Activism

Image from Google Images.

Image from Google Images.

When I read about “Stop Telling Women to Smile” by Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, I was struck; it is a fantastic visual display aiming to raise awareness about street harassment and violence against women. The Huffington Post online Article that featured the project on Friday mentioned that Fazlalizadeh wants to bring “Stop Telling Women to Smile” to Kansas City (as well as other cities across the nation), and is looking to do so through a Kickstarter campaign; I really hope that becomes a reality!

Check out the Huffington Post article here: “Public Art Project Addresses Gender-Based Street Harassment In A Big Way”: http://huff.to/17kI8mF

To visit the “Stop Telling Women to Smile” website, click here: http://bit.ly/17Ld1BL

Natalie Portman: A True Role Model

By Morgan Paul

Image from Mira on Flickr.

Image from Mira on Flickr.

When thinking of empowering women, Natalie Portman was certainly not the first to come to my mind. So when I saw a quote by here saying “I’d rather be smart than a movie star,” I was a little surprised. This inspired me to do a little research and I was more than surprised to find out that she went to Harvard. I never would have expected a movie star to take education so seriously.

Portman was born in Israel, went to a Jewish school and spoke Hebrew. She was so concerned with her education that she missed the premiere of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, so she could study for her high school final exams. After attending Harvard she took graduate classes at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She also participates in many woman-empowerment organizations; for example in 2004 and 2005, she traveled to Uganda, Guatemala, and Ecuador as the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International. FINICA is an organization that promotes micro-lending to finance women-owned businesses. Then in January 2011, she was ambassador of Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner, spearheading their “Power of a Girl” campaign. She also held a contest for girls in North America as a fundraiser for Free the Children’s all-girls schools in Kenya. And this is all in addition to being a movie star and mother!

So if you’re ever looking for a little motivation, remind yourself of all the great things that women have accomplished.

Meet Anna-Maria: Her Art Project Intern

GE DIGITAL CAMERAHi! My name is Anna-Maria Kretzer, and I am a new intern here at the Women’s Center.  I am a graduate student studying art history with the intent of becoming a curator.  I will be helping with several arts related programs including the Plaza Art Fair, the Her Art Exhibit, and continuing work on the Women’s Equity Quilt Project.  The Her Art internship combines my two favorite subjects: art and feminism.  It is a really great opportunity to learn about organizing arts events, and I am really excited about the coming semester at the Women’s Center!

The Idolization of Frida

Frida Kahlo, "Henry Ford Hospital," 1932. Image from Fickr

Frida Kahlo, “Henry Ford Hospital,” 1932. Image from Fickr

By Morgan Elyse Christensen

There seems to be some debate in the webiverse over whether or not Frida Kahlo should really be the poster-child for art and feminism. Those who believe Kahlo establishes a harmonious relationship with the feminist movement tend to cling to her defiance of gender norms such as her lax attitude in regards to facial hair, her bi-sexuality, and the fact that her art was collected in the early 20th century when hardly any other women were blazing the same trail (that’s kind of the big one). Those who oppose the view that Frida brings a positive note to feminism, take note of the fact that she remained in an unhealthy relationship with her misogynist husband/ex-husband/husband-again, Diego Rivera, and that her paintings were only painted for and because of him.

Here’s what I think: It’s totally unfair for anyone but Frida Kahlo to assess her feminist credibility – especially since she’s been unable to defend herself since 1954. So when people say “Frida Kahlo; No Feminist” or “Frida Kahlo: Best Feminist Ever”, how can they really know? Even if said people knew her personally, they’d know only what Kahlo would have allowed them to see her do and hear her say, not how she truly felt on the inside and what she was really thinking; that’s what the canvas was for – Frida’s vibrant diary. But you still can’t judge her as a person – only her art – and art is subjective.

We can never really know what was going through Kahlo’s mind when she painted them, we can only try interpreting the meanings behind works such as “Diego in My Thoughts”, “Without Hope”, or “Henry Ford Hospital”, for each person it will be different. For me, and for many feminists, Frida’s work encapsulates several of the same ideas on to which we’re still trying to turn the general population like how women feel trapped, forced to fulfill societal conventions, and how the female reproductive system is not some mysterious, taboo thing that should be hidden away.

There’s no doubt that Frida Kahlo wasn’t afraid to discuss subjects in her paintings that cause the viewer to think very deeply. Thought provoking art, painted by a female, famous in a time when women typically weren’t for their art; I say let the idolization of Frida continue…for centuries. Plus, I think her work is amazing, period!

The Gellman Collection which contains works by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and several other remarkable Mexican artists will remain on display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art through August 18th. Go see it for yourself and get your own impression of what Frida means to the art world and to feminism.

Call for Artists — Plaza Art Fair Opportunity with UMKC Her Art Project

Calling all Kansas City area female artists!  The UMKC Women’s Center, Conservatory of Music and Dance – Community Music and Dance Academy, and the Toy and Miniature Museum are teaming up to host the Her Art Project booth at the upcoming Plaza Art Fair, Sept. 21 – 23, on the Country Club Plaza. We are looking for four KC area artists (visual artists, musicians, dancers, poets, etc…) to be featured artists at different times during the Art Fair. Featured artists will not be able to sell any artwork; however, you will be able to display samples of your work and distribute promotional materials to thousands of art fair visitors. You will also have the opportunity to give a brief presentation about your art and to facilitate a family-friendly, hands-on activity.

To be considered for one of the Featured Artist positions, please submit proposals to Arzie Umali at the UMKC Women’s Center, by 5:00pm on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

For more information, please contact Arzie Umali at 816-235-5577 or umalia@umkc.edu .

The Her Art Project booth at the Plaza Art Fair is also made possible through the support of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City and the Experience ArtsKC Program.

Concert Features Women Composers at UMKC

By Arzie Umali
Next week the Women’s Center’s Her Art Project will be co-sponsoring a concert featuring some very talented women composers at UMKC. In collaboration with the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, the UMKC Women Composers concert will be part of the Musica Aestas  concert series, June 16 – 22. Now in its third year, this concert series features innovative programming by guest performers, as well as faculty from the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance. The Women Composers concert will be Wednesday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m. at White Recital Hall in the UMKC Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. Featured composers and performers will be:

Mara Gibson

Mara Gibson: E: Tip for cello solo, played by Sascha Groschang featuring video collaboration by Caitlin Horsmon
Tatev Amiryan: piano solo work, played by Tatev Amiryan
Asha Srinivasan: Dviraag for flute and cello, played by Grace Lai and Sascha Groschang
Asha Srinivasan: Alone, Dancing for flute solo, played by Grace Lai
Chen Yi: Duo Ye for piano solo, played by Tatev Amiryan
Chen Yi: Romance and Dance for violin and piano, played by Amy Hu and Tatev Amiryan
Chen Yi

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance Community Music and Dance Academy website. 

The Her Art Project is a program of the UMKC Women’s Center that strives to support the achievements of local women artists of all disciplines and to advance the equity of all women in the arts in Kansas City. For more information, please visit the Her Art Project website.

Vanguards and Visionaries

By Sarah L. Jensen

We are only a few weeks away from the  Women’s Center Vanguards and Visionaries Reception! Join us to honor the past leadership of the UMKC Women’s Center. You can meet former directors, staff, and members of the Chancellor’s Advisory Board to the Women’s Center in addition to seeing the new exhibit: Vanguards and Visionaries. The exhibit features local women artists who helped shape visual arts of Kansas City these past forty years. It will be a great night of art, refreshments and bumping elbows with some of the amazing women of Kansas City. We hope to see you there!

 When: Thursday, March 1, 2012
Where: Leedy-Voulkos Arts Center, 2012 Baltimore, KCMO
What Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
RSVP online: http://umkcwc40.eventbrite.com/

For further information or with questions contact the Women’s Center at 816.235.1638 or umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu

Join us to celebrate 40 years of telling our stories with the UMKC Women’s Center!

Image credit: Webster’s Beaker, Philomene Bennet, 2008

Join Us for Nedra Bonds’ Quilt Camp!

Looking for something to do this summer? Stop by the UMKC Women’s Center and become part of the Women’s Center forever! Under the guidance of local textile artist Nedra Bonds, you will create a 12×12” quilt square that will become part of the Women’s Equity Quilt and permanently installed in the Women’s Center in honor of its 40th Anniversary. No sewing skills necessary. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited. Reservations are encouraged.

When: Every Thursday, 1 – 5 p.m.; June 9 – July 28

Where: UMKC Women’s Center, 105 Haag Hall, 5120 Rockhill Road, KCMO

Cost: Free; but donations are welcome to support the Women’s Equity Quilt Project. Donations of $20 ($10 for students) will allow participant to create a second quilt square that they can keep

For more information or to reserve a spot, contact Patsy Campos at umkc-womens-center@umkc.edu or 816-235-1638.

Co-sponsored by the Her Art Project, the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City, and the ArtsKC Fund.

Cross-posted on the UMKC Women’s & Gender Studies Program blog.

A Year of Amazing Events!

By Patsy Campos

The UMKC Women’s Center has hosted a variety of events where we have reached many new and returning audiences throughout the Fall 2010-Spring 2011 term. Our events make an important contribution to the campus and public community by bringing awareness to the importance and advancement of women’s equity. This year our programs included networking events, textile art workshops, special performances and rallies and marches.

Some of our biggest annual events are:

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

The Vagina Monologues

“Rock Who You Are” Fashion Show

Take Back the Night

Her Art Project

The month of May marks the end of one year for the Women’s Center’s dedicated student staff, but it certainly is not the end of the Women’s Center! Please stop by throughout the summer and next fall to learn more about our upcoming programming. We want to thank all of you for supporting the Women’s Center and giving us the opportunity to create and host successful events and programs. Thank you to our blog readers and for communicating with us through Twitter and Facebook. The Women’s Center wishes all of you a fantastic summer!