Ohio University

University kicks of 10th anniversary of Celebration of Women of Appalachia Project with fine art exhibition

University kicks of 10th anniversary of Celebration of Women of Appalachia Project with fine art exhibition
Published: January 22, 2019 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University Multicultural Center announced the first of two events in celebration of its 10-year partnership with the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP), the annual fine art exhibition featuring 35 female artists living in or with strong ties to Appalachia.

The exhibit is open to the public through March 23. 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. To contribute in support of women survivors of sexual violence, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/survivor-advocacy-outreach-program.

According to the founder, Kari Gunter-Seymour, WOAP is unique in that is 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. 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.

“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,” says Gunter-Seymour. “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,” shares 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 Ohio University 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 annual Women of Appalachia Project GALA is scheduled for March 23, in the Multicultural Center Art Gallery and Baker University Center Theatre with spoken word, fine art and special guests Ohio University President Dr. M. Duane Nellis, old-time string band, The Trophy Wives and 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.

When asked how living in Appalachia has influenced her life and therefore her art, Pike County, Ohio, photographer Lacy Davis says, “My grandmother was my first teacher. She taught me that wood sorrel tastes sour and is high in vitamin C and morels like to grow near dead elm trees. We smashed pokeberries and used them as paint though I was instructed to never eat them. I hung onto every word. My grandmother’s stories and knowledge are my inheritance.”

“I pay homage to the 19th century rural West Virginia extraction industry,” says West Virginia multimedia fine artist Robin McClintock. “Its’ architecture and laborers and how the current conditions of the local landscape have been irrevocably altered. What we see today is as much about what isn’t there as what is.”

The exhibit and GALA are free and open to the public; however, donations will be accepted at the door in support of Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program. For more information go to www.womenofappalachia.com or visit WomenofAppalachiaProject on Facebook.

For questions, email womenofappalachia@gmail.com


Photo courtesy of: Multicultural ProgramsWOAP gallery