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Marcia Nighswander
September 26, 2017 : Ohio University Southern to host Women of Appalachia Project in October
The Women of Appalachia Project will return to Ohio University Southern this fall. The Southern campus, in Ironton, is planning an expanded schedule to include both fine arts and spoken word performance events in its second collaboration with the project.
 
Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson founded the Women of Appalachia Project nine years ago as a one-time event. Peterson, a poet and photographer from Albany, Ohio, wanted to address discrimination directed at women from across Appalachia.
 
She said the project helps give women from Appalachia voice. Through the written word and the fine arts, women artists from diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences come together to embrace the stereotype to show the whole woman, beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her.
 
Marcia Nighswander“We believe that all women are capable, courageous, creative and inspired,” said Peterson.
In March 2017, Ohio University Southern hosted the project’s “Women Speak” event, a showcase of juried literary works presented by women writers. Attendance at the event and audience response prompted the project and Southern to expand the partnership.
 

Two Southern Campus faculty are among the jurors charged with selecting the written work and visual art for this year’s events. Dr. Hayley Haugen, associate professor of English, is on the panel selecting poems, essays and stories from submitted works. Tom Suter, senior lecturer of art, is among the adjudicators for the fine arts component.
 
Haugen said programs such as the Women on Appalachia Project provide the invaluable community enrichment in the arts. “They allow us to engage in and appreciate a rich cultural heritage that is vibrant in our community but not always showcased,” she said.
Suter is excited about the upcoming art exhibition in the art gallery at the Southern Campus. He said the fine art submitted this year provide “compelling work that speaks to a contemporary level.”
 
The Women of Appalachia Project’s Fine Art Exhibit at Ohio University Southern will run from Sept. 21 through Oct. 27 in the Gallery, located in the Dingus Technology Center of the Ironton Campus.
 
An opening reception for the exhibit will be held Oct. 13 beginning at 6 p.m. The Women Speak event will also be held on Oct. 13 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Mains Rotunda of the Riffe Center on the Ironton campus. The public is invited and there is no cost to attend.
 
The Women of Appalachia Project events are held at various venues across southeast Ohio and in West Virginia from September 2017 through May 2018. A complete schedule can be found online at womenofappalachiaproject.com/events.