MINDS WIDE OPEN: Celebrating Women in the Arts

In March, Piedmont Arts participated in a statewide program celebrating women in the arts. Supported by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Virginia Tourism Corporation and others, MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts runs from March – June and offers thousands of special events honoring contributions by women to arts and culture.

Piedmont Arts presented three events for MINDS WIDE OPEN (MWO) and had the distinct pleasure of planning events that celebrated state and national women. On March 6, we welcomed the six women artists of Art JAM into our galleries. Their exhibit of the same name featured a wide variety of works in varying styles and media. Though each of the ladies of Art JAM has a separate studio, they all meet monthly to discuss their work. These discussions have made a distinct impression on the pieces they create. They all share a warm color palette, a sense of fluid movement and an overall inviting feel. These artists were chosen for MWO not only because they are women, but also because they share a special relationship to one another that can be seen echoed through their work.

Piedmont Arts was honored by MWO when our presentation of the Richmond Ballet was selected as a statewide kick–off event for the program. MWO representatives attended the performance on March 8, along with Richmond Ballet Managing Director Keith Martin and students from Minds In Motion Team XL and XXL, who opened the show with a performance. An ensemble of dancers performed three ballets, all of which were choreographed and/or performed by women. This performance also served as a special first-look at the program prior to the Ballet's April return engagement at New York City's Joyce Theatre.

At the end of March, Piedmont Arts On Stage! presented the wildly popular group, Cherish the Ladies. Taking their name from the title of a traditional Irish jig, the group initially won recognition as the first and only all-women traditional Irish band. Since then, they have grown to become the most successful Irish-American group in Celtic music. The six women, who play a wide array of instruments, sang both traditional and contemporary songs, all set to the familiar, rhythmic lull of Irish instrumentation. The performance was accented by step–dancers who performed traditional Irish jigs as the musicians played.

We hope you had a chance to join us for one or all of our MINDS WIDE OPEN events. The program was very successful and we plan to participate again in the future. Check out our events in 2011 when we will be participating in MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Children and the Arts.

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