The Ohio University Multicultural Center has announced the first event of two in celebration of its 10-year partnership with the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP).
The annual fine art exhibition features 35 female artists living in or with strong ties to Appalachia. The exhibit is open to the public through March 23, 2019, at the Multicultural Center.
The annual Women of Appalachia Project GALA is scheduled for March 23 in the Multicultural Center Art Gallery and Baker Theatre with spoken word, fine art and special guests Ohio University President Duane Nellis and the old-time string band The Trophy Wives. Also featured will be gala decor created by Passion Works Studio.
A special 10th Anniversary Anthology of spoken word and fine art is near completion and will celebrate its launch at the Gala event. Refreshments will be served.
This year WOAP is raising funds for Southeastern Ohio Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program to provide unrestricted funds for immediate needs support, especially critical at this time due to the government shut down, according to a news release. To contribute in support of women survivors of sexual violence go to https://www.gofundme.com/survivor-advocacy-outreach-program.
In the release, WOAP founder Kari Gunter-Seymour said the project is unique as an arts organization specifically focused on addressing discrimination directed at Appalachians. Modeled as a cooperative, the organization has become an ever-expanding mix of socio-political perspectives, the release added. “Emerging to established writers and fine artists wield their words and images to challenge preconceived prejudices used as the gauge by which Appalachian women are judged,” the release added.
The release quotes Gunter-Seymour stating, “Providing opportunities for females from the Appalachian region to exhibit their art, raw and unfiltered, allows us to openly celebrate our heritage and culture, throw open the doors, share our experiences and ideals, challenge the stereotype. We not only begin to build much needed self-esteem and empowerment within our female population, but also invite viewers and our communities to celebrate as well.
“A bit of irony in light of today’s escalation of racism and marginalization,” added Gunter-Seymour, “is that Appalachian culture has been gender-neutral for generations, readily using terms like ‘you’uns,’ “y’all’ and ‘young’uns’ when addressing all genders.”
Along with OU Multicultural Center Art Gallery, the work of 70 spoken word and fine artists have been or will be exhibited and performed at five other venues throughout West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio: Northern Kentucky University, Fort Thomas, Kentucky; West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia; Berea College, Berea, Kentucky; Ohio University Southern, Ironton, Ohio; Monongalia Art Center, Morgantown, West Virginia; and a final performance at The Historic Bowen House, Logan, Ohio.
The exhibit and GALA are free and open to the public, though donations will be accepted at the door in support of Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program.