Expressing experiences

Shelby Pendowski

For the first time since it began in 2001, the Grand Valley State University Women’s Center will collaborate with the Heartside Ministry Art studio for the 11th Annual Art Reception held at the Kirkhof Center on Sept. 12.

“The art reception is an opportunity for the campus and broader community to view the new collection of art that will be on display in the Women’s Center throughout the academic year,” said Brittany Dernberger, assistant director of the GVSU Women’s Center.

The Women’s Center began hosting an annual Art Reception to express women’s experiences to the community. Dernberger said the event is a causal way for students, faculty and other members of the community to come together and enjoy the work of their peers.
“Three of the pieces in this year’s collection were produced by local artists in this grassroots community art program,” Derberger said. “The public will see the new pieces on display and have the opportunity to meet many of the artists who have pieces in this year’s collection.”

GVSU English professor Kathleen Blumreich is one of the featured artists with her piece “Green Bookcase II,” which took her two months to complete. Blumreich said she received inspiration for the painting from her passion for books and reading.

She hopes that when viewing her work that others see as she does, “that books are like magical keys to learning, to pleasure, to understanding.”

Leah Burke, a GVSU art student who has her artwork featured in the event, said she heard about it from a friend who graduated from GVSU, and now works at the Women’s Center. Her piece was inspired by the loss of her grandmother, as she brought together all of the belongings she had left from her and displayed their importance in her piece.

“It started originally as a personal piece…” Burke said. “I and others, I think, realize the importance of people when it is too late. I am now more grateful for those people in my life.”
GVSU student Margaret Vance’s piece, “A is for Apple, B is for Barbie, and C is for Consumerism,” channels her inner feminist.
“I feel honored to have my work shown at the Women’s Center, especially because my work dapples in societal issues about women,” Vance said.

She said people should come to the event for a chance to talk with visitors on a more personal level.

“It would be great to make new connections and inspire viewers, but to also engage in a broader conversation,” Vance said.
The event is free and open to the public, and will run from 1-3 p.m. in the Women’s Center at 1202 Kirkhof Center.
“It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some light refreshments and kick off the new academic year with thoughtfully-inspired artwork,” Dernberger said.
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