This March, my work was part of the Nasty Woman Show at Henderson State University, and thanks to Margo Duvall and the University of Arkansas, this summer the exhibit has moved to Little Rock.
When I posted about the show at HSU, I mentioned the Us-versus-the-Other environment that was troubling me. It has only seemed to continue to intensify, and with newfound challenges facing my family, I’m struggling to understand the ground, much less keep my feet on it.
To be in a place full of very different pieces of art by very different artists helps center me again, not because my work is on the walls, although that of course is great, but because it reminds me of all the mirrors and hammers art gives us. This show might move you in a way you need as well.
You can find the exhibit in Gallery I and the Maners/Pappas Gallery in the Fine Arts Building at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. It opened yesterday, June 14, and runs through August 25. Summer gallery hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday (except university holidays). Free and open to the public.
My next event takes me back to Henderson State University, where the Nasty Woman Show opens Wednesday, March 1.
Like many, I’ve found myself upset by recent turns of events. Make no mistake, I’m no snowflake. But I find myself marginalized, as a woman, as part of a community dedicated to public schools and higher ed, as the descendant of once-villifed immigrant and religious groups, really there seems to be no end to the way this administration works to target different groups in order to stoke the fire of an Us-versus-The Other environment. I find myself remembering things I worked to forget because a man who shrugged off his comments about sexual assault, who had rallies where people chanted that a female candidate was a bi**h, has been chosen to lead our country. I know good people who voted in support of this kind of man. What does that mean?
I haven’t figured out the answer, but I know this. When I was growing up, I was afraid. I thought those demons were gone. Obviously, they aren’t. But as one of my friends reminded me, I’m not that girl anymore. As a woman, I will find ways to face fear, not with fight or flight, but through faith rooted in the Spirit. And part of that is art.
The Nasty Woman show will showcase the work of 32 female artists in different mediums. Some of my poems have been framed to be displayed in the mix, and I’ll be reading some poems at the opening reception as well. The team at HSU including Kathy Strause and Margo Duvall has brought together this celebration of women’s voices to help mark Women’s History Month. Everyone is welcome to view the show in the Russell Fine Arts Gallery during March, weekdays 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and to come to the reception this Wednesday, March 1, 2-4 p.m.
Let this encourage us.