As part of their most recent exhibition, McMurry University will display artwork from a group of people who are connected not by their profession, age, or skill level, but because they are women.
In honor of Women’s History Month, 100 Women, 100 Words features small, square canvases created by a group of women from Abilene, some as young as 15.
“The conversation about doing something for Women’s History Month came out of discussions between myself and Mary Buzan,” said Dr. Christina Wilson, Dean of the School of Arts and Letters. “Out of that came the idea to challenge women to make art and write as a way to talk about their perceptions on being women and the women around them.”
Wilson and Buzan, division chair for the School of Arts and Letters, began to approach women they knew to try and find participants. It wasn’t long before word got and women were getting in touch with them.
“We had women coming forward and asking if we needed more names,” said Wilson. “We ended up with people calling us and asking if they could participate.”
Eventually, the exhibition grew to more than 100 canvases created by a range of women.
Of those who participated, McMurry University and all four Abilene high school are represented and most are not artists by profession. Each was given a blank 6″ by 6″ canvas and instructions asking them to supplement their art with 100 words.
The diversity of participants helped create an exhibition that serves as a look into the vast experiences of women.
“You will see a wide variety of interpretations on canvas,” said Wilson. “If you put that together with the words there are some very powerful statements on being a woman and the legacy of the women around them.”
Along with helping plan the exhibition, Buzan also served as a participant.
“I was the one who proposed the idea of doing some activity for Women’s History Month, said Buzan, “so [Christina Wilson] felt it was my obligation to also participate.”
As an organizer, Buzan was excited for the exhibition but as an artist, the project brought different emotions.
“I’m not an artist,” she said, “so it was really scary. I looked forward to trying something new but at the same time I hated for my first effort to be public. Luckily, I had people to help me with technique. I am really glad I did it, and I can see from the exhibit as a whole and the interaction of the canvases that it is very meaningful.”
Wilson plans to compile all the works into and book and, although no plans are in place, she is optimistic that this will become a continuing exhibition.
100 Women, 100 Words opened Monday and is showing through March 31 in the Amy Graves Ryan Fine Arts Building.
“I think it is a challenge and it can be intimidating,” said Wilson, “but it is a way to provide a vehicle for expression that they may not have considered. And that is what we wanted it to be.”