KCKCC Art Gallery to host “Audacity: The March to Women’s Rights”

“Audacity: The March to Women’s Rights” is a show of art and poetry inspired by the work of local Kansas City artist, Gloria Heifner. Gloria shares portraits and stories of ten American women, from Sojourner Truth to Gloria Steinem and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had the audacity to stand up for women’s rights. These women changed history because of their willingness to stand up and make a difference through incredibly difficult odds on such issues as slavery, Equal Rights Amendment, and the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, which brought about the right for women to vote.

Curated by Polly Alice McCann, the show is hosted by the gallery at Kansas City Kansas Community College under the directorship of Shai Perry. The show also includes work by Kansas Author and Photographer, Sharon Rodriguez, and four national poets who joined these three women in sharing writing about the march for women’s rights: Joan Gerstein, Candice Kelsey, Catharine Phillips, and Linda Neal Reising. The art in the show explores not only portraits, but expressive media in both painting and sculpture about the attitude of a march, both the emotional awareness of protest and the joy in unity and togetherness through banners, flags, and the way in which a march involves the visual wearing of words and symbols of protest. The show is open to the public Monday-Thursday from 11am-4pm in the KCKCC Art Gallery on KCKCC’s Main Campus. The show will be open for viewing until December 10, 2020. There will be a virtual reception on September 9, 2020 from 7-9pm. Contact sperry@kckcc.edu for a link to the virtual reception!

Meet the “Audacity” artists and poets

Curator POLLY ALICE MCCANN, author and artist, creates soft sculptural oil paintings with imperfect stitching. She is also the creative consultant and managing editor of Flying Ketchup Press. Her art has been published in US newspapers and magazines and is showing internationally. She says her favorite thing is to tell stories-- other people's, her own-- maybe yours. Find her at www.pollymccann.com

Artist GLORIA HEIFNER following a career in graphic design with such well-known companies as Helzberg Diamonds, opened her studio to follow the experimental path set out by the abstract expressionists to create intuitive art. Starting with poured acrylics, Gloria uses non-traditional tools working until the piece comes to a pleasing composition. Now her works include reverse decoupage on glass with found vintage illustrations to create stunning ornamental vases and bowls. Find her work at MLB Designs or visit her studio by appointment at DesignWerx in North Kansas City. She wants her art to bring energy and balance to the individuals and businesses that collect her work.

Photographer SHARON RODRIGUEZ says, “As an artist, I have always been interested in photographing and telling the stories of people who mostly go unseen in the world: mothers, grandmothers, elderly. I’m fascinated by the grace and gifts of an everyday human, I love to shed light on those who think they are just making-do, when in fact it is their work that is at the heart of our civilization. Three years ago, during my morning walk through a beautifully cultivated Johnson County park, amongst the February brambles, I saw a blue tarp acting as a tent. My first thought was, “it’s awful cold for a Boy Scout camping trip.” The reality was something that struck my heart to the quick, and immediately the focus of my art became completely re-centered: this was a homeless camp. Even though I regularly worked with a local soup kitchen, I had never asked the people I was serving about what happened to them at night. So, I went off the trails, I brought blankets and bags of food on my expeditions into the homeless neighborhoods I’d never seen before. I met with individuals and families and listened to their stories. I was moved by what I learned and motivated to share these experiences with the rest of the world through the lens of my artwork. I made large prints of their portraits along with a handwritten copy of their stories. I showed and shared over the next two years in many venues around the metro. Enjoy reading their stories. Making the invisible visible one story one face at a time.”

"And the Women March" by CANDICE KELSEY is part of her debut book of poetry, Still I am Pushing, which just released with Finishing Line Press. Her poetry appears in Poets Reading the News, Poet Lore, and others. She won the 2019 Two Sisters Writing's Contest, received Honorable Mention for Common Ground's 2019 Poetry Contest, and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Currently, she is working with the O, Miami Poetry Festival on an exciting project. An educator in Los Angeles for 21 years, she is devoted to working with young writers. Find her at www.candicemkelseypoet.com.

“I March for You” by LINDA NEAL REISING, a native of Oklahoma and a member of the Western Cherokee Nation. Linda graduated from Northeastern Oklahoma A & M College and Missouri Southern State University. She also holds an M.A. in Humanities from the University of Evansville. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including The Southern Indiana Review, The Comstock Review, and Nimrod. Reising’s work has also appeared in a number of anthologies, including Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (Harper/Collins) and And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press). She was named the winner of the 2012 Writer’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her chapbook, Re-Writing Family History (Finishing Line Press), was a finalist for the 2015 Oklahoma Book Award, as well as winner of the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Poetry Book Prize. Her work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of So It Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library. The Keeping, her first full-length book of poetry, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Her second full-length collection, Stone Roses, is forthcoming from Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books) in April of 2021.

“We Woman” a poem by CATHARINE PHILLIPS, a poet, and a priest. “We is part of the title of my poem because I am part of an ever-increasing “we.” I was part of the first wave of Episcopal women clergy.”

​”The Worth of a Woman” by JOAN GERSTEIN, a retired educator and psychotherapist, has been writing poetry since childhood. Originally from NY, she has resided in CA since 1969. Joan says, “Charisma is both personal and universal- so many options were not available because I (we) am female, born in 1947. The Worth of a Woman is one subtle way the government keeps us down.”

*Special thanks to Polly Alice McCann of Flying Ketchup Press for preparing this press release and allowing KCKCC Foundation to republish it.

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