An image created by Women Of Appalachia Project (WOAP) artist Beth Nash, entitled “Crow People.” (Courtesy of WOAP)

WOAP Returns to OHIO Multicultural Center Art Gallery

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Ohio University’s Multicultural Center and Women’s Center will once again be hosting two very special events focused on showcasing the work of women artists from multiple counties of Appalachia, inviting its students, staff and faculty of OHIO as well as all surrounding communities to attend.

The work of 41 fine artists is currently on display in the Multicultural Center Art Gallery, 2nd Floor, Baker University Center, on the Athens campus through April 22.

An opening reception will be held on Feb. 3, 5 – 8 p.m., with entertainment provided at 6 p.m. by spoken word artist Renay Sanders and musician Renée Stewart, two of the 28 spoken word artists who will present “Women Speak” later in the semester (April 14). Read more about the artists and upcoming events at here. Refreshments will be served.

"Owl Listening," by WOAP artist Teresa Sager, watercolor mixed media. (Courtesy of WOAP)
“Owl Listening,” by WOAP artist Teresa Sager, watercolor mixed media. (Courtesy of WOAP)

“If you are from Appalachia, you grow to realize early on, that many people have an image of an Appalachian woman, and they look down on her,” said Kari Gunter-Seymour Peterson, founder/curator of the Women of Appalachia Project (WOAP). “I created WOAP to address discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region by encouraging women artists of diverse backgrounds, ages and experiences, emerging and established, to come together, embrace the stereotype, show the whole woman; beyond the superficial factors that people use to judge her – to empower and strengthen women artists through fellowship and positive community connections.”

“I grew up in Boone, NC, in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. Everything I learned, know, and understand about life and art literally comes from the Appalachian tradition and mountain ways. I spent hours in the woods with Grandma Ruth as she foraged for Galax to sell for spending money, canned food for her family, and quilted beautiful coverlets for each of her grandchildren,” said visual artist Tanya S. Wilder, handmade Paper/mixed media artist. “She taught me to work with my hands, to make simple things from all sorts of objects I found, wasting nothing. In that spirit, I go to the fields and woods to gather materials to make my handmade paper. The strength and color of each page finds its base in burdock, goldenrod, ironweed, walnut hulls, and other natural fibers and dyes.”

”The Creek Will Rise," by WOAP artist Whitney Folsom, photography. (Courtesy of WOAP)
”The Creek Will Rise,” by WOAP artist Whitney Folsom, photography. (Courtesy of WOAP)

“When I moved to Athens county 18 years ago I never could have imagined the amazing network of women that would lead and encourage me into the field of ceramics,” said Laurie Vancover a ceramics artist. “Becoming involved in the Women of Appalachia Project only seemed a natural progression for me. WOAP provides opportunities for exploration in the arts, encouraging all of its participants to reach higher, be proud of who we are and where we are from.”

“WOAP provides a unique opportunity for rural artists and the community to come together,” said Winsome Chunnu-Brayda, Strategic Director for Diversity and Inclusion and Multicultural Programs and Initiatives at Ohio University. “The Multicultural Center is proud to have hosted the “Women of Appalachia Project’s” events – the fine art and spoken word presentations – every year since its inception. This event serves as one of Ohio University’s outstanding town/gown experiences. Literally thousands of viewers visit the WOAP exhibit in our gallery each year.”

All exhibitions and performances have been or will be hosted free to the public by generous sponsors, Ohio University and ARTS/West, Athens, OH; Parkersburg Art Center, Parkersburg, WV; The Bowen House, Logan, OH; Columbus Poetry Forum, Columbus, OH; The Pumphouse Center for the Arts, Chillicothe, OH; and Ohio University Southern, Ironton, OH.