Celebrating Women in the Arts

The Citywide Celebration of Women in the Arts highlights the creativity of women in the arts in Greater Peoria.

by Kristan H. McKinsey, Illinois Women Artists Project
Kristan McKinsey
Kristan McKinsey, director of the Illinois Women Artists Project. Photo by Craig Stocks

Creative women in the Peoria area will be showcased this month in a group of exhibitions, performances, demonstrations and presentations promoted by ArtsPartners of Central Illinois as the 2019 Citywide Celebration of Women in the Arts (CCWA). 

Exhibits and Demonstrations
The Celebration starts with First Friday exhibit openings and demonstrations at Ear in the Envelope, Glazed & Confused Pottery, J. Draper Glass, Side View Gallery and Studios on Sheridan. Atelier 5835 will open The Peoria Area Women’s Cup, an exhibition of bras decorated by local women as works of art, with sales benefiting the Center for the Prevention of Abuse. Other exhibits of work made exclusively by women artists that are part of CCWA include:

  • Women of CIAO at the Peoria Public Library
  • This is Me at Exhibit A Gallery
  • Not Clearly Defined at the Peoria Art Guild
  • Imaging at the Peoria Magazines offices
  • Fiber As Art: Phase 2/Wearable at the Foster Gallery of Christianity and the Fine Arts. 

Midwest Women Artists Symposium
Bradley University will host three exhibits related to the Midwest Women Artists Symposium, Midwest Women Artists: Champions of the Environment, on November 7 and 8. The free symposium will explore the leadership of women artists in addressing environmental issues such as climate change, clean water and sustainable energy; how the geography of the Midwest has influenced their practice; and the intersections of art and science in their work. Register for the symposium at 309tix.com.

Women in Iron
Among several interactive events is the “First [Fe]male Iron Pour” in Peoria’s history. Female iron casters from around the country will join local artist Jam Lovell of Black Dog Metal Arts at the Peoria Art Guild on November 2 to pour thousands of pounds of molten hot iron.  Lovell also helped organize Fierce – Women in Iron, a related exhibition showing at the Prairie Center of the Arts all month. 

Yoga, Poetry and More!
Take a yoga class at Soulside Healing Arts on November 8, then extend the physical and mental relaxation by creating Zentangle art while enjoying a glass of wine or a cup of tea. Join artist Duffy Armstrong Farrell on November 15 for “The Face of Women in Art,” a conversation about images of women portrayed in art through the centuries, then add a face to a communal drawing. Enjoy an evening of poetry and female empowerment at “Open Mic Night: The Female Gaze” at Lit. on Fire Used Books on November 20.  

Jazz & Inspiration
On November 12, art educator Mary Jo Papich will share her inspiring story of founding the Jazz Education Network, dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performances and developing new audiences. This vibrant, international organization reaches people in 23 countries through performances, conferences, festivals and scholarships.

Women in Theatre
Spend an evening learning about the life and work of abolitionist and suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton at the Dunlap Public Library on November 14. Laura Keyes will portray this outspoken activist and supporter of various issues pertaining to women, not just voting rights. Another theatrical event is a Corn Stock Theatre production directed by Lisa White. [title of show] follows two struggling writers as they write a play about writing a play; it is a love letter to musical theater. 

Enriching Central Illinois
This year marks the fourth biennial Citywide Celebration of Women in the Arts, and the second coordinated by ArtsPartners. CCWA provides just a sampling of the ways artistic women enrich the cultural life of central Illinois through the visual and performing arts, theater, literature, filmmaking and other media. For a complete listing of events with locations and times, visit artspartners.net/ccwa. PM

Kristan H. McKinsey is director of the Illinois Women Artists Project and board president of ArtsPartners of Central Illinois.