WORDS AND PHOTOS/NICOLE CAGLE
Over the course of a year Art Center of the Ozark’s Director of Visual Arts, Eve Smith, and dedicated volunteer, Autumn Brown, have planned Vox Femina. Together they wanted to host an event that would not only focus on selected artists but celebrate women and their creative perspective. This coming Thursday, February 12th, Art Center of the Ozarks will host an artist’s reception in the evening hours from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. highlighting Zeek Taylor’s “A Life in Color” and Vox Femina: a group exhibition featuring a diverse collection of contemporary female artists and their “voice” within’ the art community.
An Art Talk will be held earlier in the day from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. to discuss the exhibition in detail. In an interview with Vox Femina curators Autumn Brown emphasized how social media has aided her and Eve Smith in the execution of the exhibit, “social media has provided us with the ability to follow artists, learn about them, and stay current with various collections.” Artist’s for Vox Femina were chosen from the Arkansas and Oklahoma area in hopes to establish an artist’s network and funding path between the two states and attract a connection with other neighboring states.
“Criterion was not given to the chosen artists, Vox Femina features an array of mediums; in addition, the art displayed is not necessarily intended to portray women’s issues. Moreover, the exhibition as a whole correlates a group of women from different backgrounds and the common factor of what it means to be a female in the art world” said Eve Smith in an open discussion on Vox Femina. I had the opportunity to see the preliminary stages of Vox Femina and strength is one of many impressions throughout the gallery.
Organizing an art exhibition is no easy feat; time and sponsorship are major factors in hosting such an event. Autumn Brown gave an example of the importance of sponsorships in our interview, “Without the sponsorship of Margie Ivy, Coldwell Banker HMF of Bentonville and Downtown Bentonville Cottages, Norman Oklahoma native, Heather Clark Hillard’s immaculate work of art placed in the entry way of the gallery would not be able to be displayed for patrons.”
Other Vox Femina artists are also able to display their art because of sponsorships aiding in shipping and display costs. The exhibition is scheduled to run through February 26th and is free to visitors. Donations and art sales are not required but are encouraged to benefit the artists and enable Art Center of the Ozarks to bring more art exhibitions to their gallery.
Two contributors of The Idle Class, Kat Wilson and Beth Post, are of the selected artists to be featured in Vox Femina. When asked what it meant to her to be one of the chosen, Beth Post responded, “Vox Femina is all about celebrating and sharing the female voice. As a teacher, I often lecture about the connection between music and visual art: both are full of rhythm, deal with hierarchy, and strive for harmony. So being invited to this exhibition, for me, was like being asked to participate in a song. When we share our images (our visual voices), we build community. We become a small part of a stronger whole. I was happy to join this ever growing and changing song.” I also asked Beth to comment on her piece for the exhibition she described the following, “The Performance was a piece I created over winter break. It deals with ideas of pressure and uncertainty. The character is striving for balance, but there is a persistent feeling that she might fall.”
Other featured artists not previously mentioned include: Jennifer Balkan, Caryl Morgan, Nanette Banks, Lin Chen, Amber Winters Perrodin (Springdale local), Angela Davis Johnson, Jeannie Lynn Hulen (University of Arkansas Art Department Chair), and a number of University of Arkansas interface students.
Vox Femina curators, Eve Smith and Autumn Brown, hope for a successful exhibition and for selected artists to have the opportunity to display their female “voice” in neighboring art galleries. Many of the women selected to participate in Vox Femina were chosen based on their unique point of view, the ability to face risks and obstacles, and the ability to push the limits of their chosen mediums. In addition, not all of these women are art “veterans;” some are new-comers and together they represent Vox Femina, a diversified female “voice” ranging from classic techniques to new and modern processes. Curators look forward to patrons joining the Art Center of the Ozarks in celebrating the female artists exhibited in Vox Femina.
FEATURED IMAGE/KAT WILSON
IMAGES PICTURED ABOVE IN ORDER/ANGELA DAVIS JOHNSON, HEATHER CLARK HILLARD, AND JENNIFER BALKAN