Eileen Dorsey, photo by Greg Wilson
Friday March 12th and Saturday March 13th
78th Street Studios will celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day this Friday and Saturday with “A Celebration of Women in the Arts at 78th Street Studios,”
an open studio and "talk and shop" experience with women in the arts. More than ten woman-owned creative businesses at 78th Street Studios will participate with talks, open studio hours and discussions.
The event, launched by Ramparts Gallery, is free and open to the public and will include Eileen Dorsey, Hilary Gent, Valerie Mayen, Susie Frazier, Maya Matthews, Natalie Rich, Julie Verdon, Dawn Tekler, Margaret Daole, Laurel Herbold and Megan Frankenfield.
Gent and Dorsey, both of whom are also participants in Lakeland Community College’s “Celebrate Women’s History Month: A Visual Journey Through Northeast Ohio,” are excited about the events.
Woman artists have been underrepresented and marginalized in arts communities everywhere and these events help to create awareness and visibility as a way to address some of these inequities and continue the conversation.
“We have a strong representation of women artists here in the Northeast Ohio arts community, but there is much work to be done to continue equal opportunities, especially for BIPOC woman artists,” said Gent. “As a curator and gallery director, inclusion is important, and although I mainly exhibit a roster of artists on a rotating basis, it is my job to make sure I am doing my part to include women in our exhibitions who are underrepresented. This requires some additional effort and local galleries especially need to realize how vital this is to our creative community.”
Gent supports many local female artists including but not limited to: Clara Deike, Edris Eckhardt, Shirely Aley Campbell, Audra Skuodas, Lori Kella, Charmaine Spencer, Judith Salomon, Dana Oldfather, Dawn Tekler and Cathie Bleck. Among some of the woman creative role models in her life, she puts her matriarchal lineage at the top of the list with her mother, who is a writer, and her grandmother, who Gent says will forever be an influence.
She also has been inspired by the likes of women artists such as Joan Mitchell, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner and Kara Walker.
Gent’s recent works represent aquatic fluidity by portraying something as disarming as a sunset on water and executing it with an impressive and innovative technique whereupon she meticulously pours her pigment onto the canvas, intermingling thickly applied paint to form waterscapes in an impressive controlled abandon to convey light, shadow and texture.
Gent, who will do an artist talk on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., has offered countless opportunities for women artists to blossom.
“Women wear many hats, it's simply part of our inherent nature to multi-task,” said Gent. “But often distractions interrupt our ability to channel energy into our passion…I look forward to discussing my role as an artist and curator and how honing in on my gifts has helped me move through the obstacles that often hinder creativity.”
Eileen Dorsey, a recent winner of Best Artist in Scene's Best of Cleveland awards, boasts an impressive resume.
Her work uses bold colors and until recently seemed to be primarily of forest scenes dramatically portraying light and color in a fantastical rendition of the natural world.
She shares her process on her weekly social media Facebook page where she talks about her current projects with the community in efforts to bring viewers into her approach.
“I have studied the works of Alice Neel, Cecily Brown and Dana Schutz, who actually went to CIA here in Cleveland,” said Dorsey. “But there are so many talented women here in Cleveland, many of which have spaces here in 78th.”Hilary Gent not only makes her own work, but she runs and owns a successful art gallery and event planning business. Susie Frazier does fantastic work and is great with business strategies and marketing. Liz Maugans’ art is fun and quirky. She is also talented in making creative connections happen. I have always admired Dana Oldfather and Amy Casey’s work. They both have been successfully showing and selling work all over the country. Last time I saw Dana’s work it was hanging next to an Andy Warhol if that says anything to you.”
Dorsey will be giving an artist talk on Friday, March 12th from 12:00-12:30 p.m.