Walpurgisnacht and The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore

For the past 7 months I've been working with the newly formed Baltimore chapter of The Feminist Art Project, a national organization based out of The Institute for Women and Art at Rutgers University.

"The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore recognizes the aesthetic, intellectual and political impact of women on visual arts and culture. We are a grassroots, non-profit arts organization which aims to be inclusive; supporting local, self-identified female artists, as well as men who recognize and promote Baltimore area women in the arts."

Personally, I really like the 2 second bio our regional coordinator, Shana Goetsch came up with the other day, "We're feminist helper-elves."  Generally as a group we're pretty silly, even though we're 100% serious about the issues we're working with.  In a survey of the top 33 art museums in the US and Canada, women only made up 24% of the artists featured, and collectively made 29% less than their male peers.  Just 5 of those 33 museums have female directors.  Keep in mind, when I graduated from MICA in 2010, women made up the majority of the student body (71%), and this is true for major art schools across the country.  Wtf.

I've gotten into running special events for TFAP-B, and earlier this month we put together our very first Walpurgisnacht event outside City Arts Apartments, with the lovely backdrop of the Greenmount Cemetery.
Walpurgisnacht, the night before May Day, is similar to Halloween in that it has to do with supernatural spirits. And like Halloween, Walpurgisnacht is of pagan origin. The bonfires seen in today's celebration reflect those pagan origins and the human desire to drive away the winter cold and welcome spring. (via about.com)
More recently, Walpurgisnacht has taken on a Take Back The Night sort of feeling, and feminist groups have used the holiday to draw attention to the image of the witch as a strong female character.  And given my family history with witchiness, I was obviously 100% on board with the idea of having our own.  Traditionally the event included huge bonfires, (mostly naked) dancing, jumping over broomsticks, costumes, potlucks, and general crazyness/funtimes.  All in all, it was a great way to have some happy omgitsnotwinteranymore good times and we met a bunch of great like-minded folks while making seed bombs, stuffing our faces, building straw men, and admiring our "fire."

(I stole all these photos from Shana Goetsch.  See the rest of the set on The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore's blog!)

Up next, we'll be prepping for our upcoming exhibition at Gallery CA, 'GUTSY: Taking the Fear Factor out of Feminism', curated by our own Allison Gulick.  Here's our Call For Artists!

GUTSY: very tough or brave : showing courage
marked by courage, pluck, or determination  
a:  expressing or characterized by basic physical senses or passions      
b:  rough or plain in style :  not bland or sophisticated
Feminism, much like art, is about perception. You may consider your participation in this call for entry a radical feminist act against the mainstream misogyny of the art system, you might not. Either way, your participation in this exhibition will help support women in Baltimore. The Feminist Art Project – Baltimore and Gallery CA invite artists to submit artwork to GUTSY: Taking the Fear Factor Out of Feminism, an exhibition which seeks to highlight the work of female artists and artists dealing with feminist issues, themes, and aesthetics.

As part of TFAP-B’s mission to support female artists and local organizations working to support women, 20% of each work of art that is sold will go to Power Inside.* Power Inside is a human rights and harm reduction organization that serves women and girls who are survivors of gender-based violence and oppression. Power Inside serves women impacted by incarceration, street life and abuse. They offer direct services, advocacy, leadership development and public education to help women build self-sufficiency, heal from violence, and avoid future criminal justice contact.

This call for entry is open to artists in the Mid-Atlantic region that recognize the aesthetic, intellectual and political impact of women, regardless of race, class, or creed, on visual arts and culture. *Please note, the artist retains 80% of sale. Neither Gallery CA nor The Feminist Art Project - Baltimore will take commission on the sale of artwork during this exhibition.

To apply and learn more, go here. Do it.