In a time where women are still undervalued in our culture – from unequal wages, to the belief that women are too emotional – it is up to individuals to gather together and increase the awareness of women and their history in society.
Edmonds Community College is hosting one such event entitled the Heart and Grace Reception that is held essentially to celebrate women and acknowledge some of the many contributions they have made to our history, communities, and families, according to Melissa Newell, an art instructor at EdCC and facilitator of this event.
This event will be beneficial to students, as they will get the opportunity to learn more about Women’s History. Not only will students be able to attend, but also engage in the discussions themselves.
The event will be held Friday, March 1 and will take place in the EdCC library, located in the third floor of the Lynnwood Hall, and occur from 4:30-6:30 p.m.
“It’s a closing statement and kick off of sorts,” said Allie Pederson, the Issues Awareness Programmer from the CSEL (Center for Student Engagement and Leadership) office. The last week of February is a Women’s History Month Awareness week in which this event will be the final of events; however it opens the door to March – Women’s History Month.
Pederson is contributing to this event by organizing volunteers and setting up the slide show for the event.
“The slides consist of quotes from women around the world and reflects the awareness of women” Perderson said. The slides will also show pictures of the other events related to Women’s History Awareness week.
Though the event discusses women, Pederson believes that men should attend the event as well.
“Men and women both should see what we [women] have struggled through, and what have prevailed. Each year we [women] are getting stronger.” Pederson said with conviction. She also believes that this event will help the students see the diversity of the campus.
The Heart and Grace Reception has been occurring annually starting eight years ago, when it was originally organized by a Shirley Sutton who worked for the Center for Equity and Diversity (this center no longer exists). Newell said via e-mail that “Shirley wanted a celebratory event that involved our students, staff, and the artists being featured in the art gallery.”
The relation between this event and Women’s History month is tied through how women involve themselves in “creating a community” (Newell). “This event is a community building event that is meant to both honor women and their contributions but also include all members of our community” Newell says in her email. Which means that even though the spotlight may be on women, men are still going to receive recognition and appreciation.
According to Newell, the name Heart and Grace refers to the qualities that significant in building a community and are often seen in women, hence the title the Heart and Grace Reception.
The reception will feature art pieces from EdCC’s student and staff in addition to pieces by the guest speakers. The EdCC website features information about the guest speakers in the event which includes Nari Baker, Darius Morrison, and Christina Seong, all of whom are Korean adoptees raised in the Puget Sound area.
They are all artists who are going share the misconceptions about the Korean adoptee experience and through “mixed media works including audio technology, prints, collage, and found objects, these artists [will] address themes of race, identity, and adoption.” (EdCC website).
For those wanting a clear idea of what will take place at the event, Newell will give a program schedule listing what will happen and what will be discussed:
Newell said, “Food is also a very important part of this celebration and we use the college catering service.” So for those who need a bigger push to attend this event please not that there will be free food.
For the students who really want to attend the gallery but won’t be able to because of the time, all is not lost. The Interpolated Spheres exhibit is already in display in the art gallery located in Lynnwood Hall, consisting of works done by the guest speakers, Baker, Morrison, and Seong. The exhibit will be shown until March 12, so there is plenty of time to sneak a peek before or after the event.
By attending this event and encouraging others as well, it will help in raising the awareness in students that women are just as strong as men by focusing on the contributions they have made in our history. This increase in awareness will help in creating equal measures between men and women and change the negative view society has of women.
Published in The Triton Review, Vol. 28, Issue 3, Feb. 25, 2013
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