Artwork and Intersection at CWGE’s Annual Art Reception


GVL \ Marc Green

Maisie Wiler, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Center for Women and Gender Equity will host its 17th Annual Art Reception. The reception, which will immediately follow the Women’s Commission’s annual fall welcome reception, will take place from 1-3 p.m. in the Center for Women and Gender Equity in Kirkhof room 1201. Artwork by both students and faculty will be revealed at the reception and will remain in the center throughout the 2019-20 academic year.

“Art beautifies our space, and fits with the vibrant aesthetic of our office,” said Sharalle Arnold, Associate Director of the Center for Women and Gender Equity and overseer of the Annual Art Reception. “It also showcases the talents and skills of our students and staff, so we’re excited to be revealing it at the reception.”

The featured artwork will also act as a conversation starter, Arnold said. Although the center gives artists no parameters for their submissions, Arnold stated that the reception’s featured artwork most often explores themes of social justice which align with the Center’s mission: to educate, engage and empower students as advocates for gender justice.

GVL \ Marc Green

Arnold said that visual art makes the complex subject of social justice “comfortable” to the uninformed guest. The Annual Art Reception is structured as an interactive art gallery; artists will be present at the reception to discuss their artwork with guests. Arnold said that this format allows conversations of equity to arise organically.

This year’s reception also has an intersectional element. In collaboration with the Making Waves About Water Initiative, a university-led initiative meant to educate the GVSU community about the role and importance of water to life, the Annual Art Reception will also feature work by artist Hakando Sibalawa. Sibalawa, who is unable to attend the reception, is known for art which explores the ultimate importance of water to human life, whether in scarcity or abundance.

“Water is a powerful element,” Arnold said. “We want to get the guests thinking about how intimately water affects our day-to-day lives. We want to get them thinking about the ways that we can take care of our water, and also the ways water has been used to help and harm.”

All students, regardless of identity, are encouraged to attend the Annual Art Reception. Arnold emphasized that the Center for Women and Gender Equity is open to all students.

“We hope that the artwork (at the reception) will speak to everyone, not just to women and individuals who identify as LGBTQ,” Arnold said.