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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy Photo Virmarie DePoyster's "Strangers Sojourn" (acrylic, Bible page image transfers on canvas; 36" x 48" x 2.5") will be featured in the exhibit.

Arts Center of the Ozarks will be featuring the exhibit "Vox Femina II" through March 28. This will be the second time Autumn Brown and Eve Smith, ACO's director of visual arts, have co-curated an all-female art exhibit. Both women agree that increasing exposure for female artists is crucial.

"This year, more than ever, with the movement of the female voice rising in unison, 'Vox Femina' will take center stage in Northwest Arkansas," says Smith. "Nineteen percent of the works in the Museum of Modern Art are done by female artists. Ten percent of all the directors in the film industry are female -- that means that 90 percent of everything you see on television is through the lens of a man. So it was important to me that this all-female exhibition be curated by a woman."

FAQ

‘Vox Femina II’

WHEN — Now through March 28; Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

WHERE — Arts Center of the Ozarks, 214 S. Main St., Springdale

COST — Free

INFO — 751-5441

"The exhibit is about women in the arts," says Brown. "It's not art about women, and it's not art about women's issues: It's female artists and their individual voice in the art community. The art is about where they are in their career, their race, their culture -- all of these different things.

"[Exhibits like this one] need to happen repeatedly. There's still such a void that it needs to be done."

The exhibit is well-timed to coincide with the national conversations currently happening in the arenas of female empowerment against sexual assault and harassment, but Brown points out that this exhibit takes a slightly different path.

"There have been rallying cries, calls to arms -- this is not that," says Brown. "This is more an answer to why we have the rallying cry, why we're fighting to be able to have our voice, and it not be squelched. The goal is to celebrate these combined voices: Art is our voice, and that can get lost in the noise of the world. When we join together, we become louder -- and more significant."

Participation was by invitation only, and Brown and Smith handpicked the artists from all over the country, as well as from the Northwest Arkansas area. Brown says she and Smith took great pains to choose artists who are not only talented but also have a "special ingredient."

"When I bring my girls to look at art, what artist do I want them to see?" says Brown. "Who is going to teach them in a positive way to continue on and try new things and not be afraid? Everyone has this little ingredient that I would be proud to say, 'Look at this art. This is someone we can explore and learn from.'"

Heather Chilson is a photographer based in Arkansas.

"I want a viewer to look at my work and inherently know where it is," she says. "You weren't with me when I took the photo, but I hope you feel transported as if you are standing there, in that very location at the moment the photo was taken."

Chilson says she agrees that it's important to highlight the artistic work of women.

"With women uniting and sharing strength like never before, this woman-centric show is not just timely, it's called for," she says. "As the title, 'Vox Femina' says, this is our collective voice. This show is bringing together many creative women and providing a platform to share our artistic visions, in whatever medium we each individually represent. I'm proud to be a part of it.

"It would be unfair to describe an artist, a piece or an entire exhibit as only 'female,' but showcasing the perspective we capture as females is important."

"These are some very established female artists," says Brown. "You are going to want to buy their work, to have in or to start your collection. We really want to promote not just the viewing of art but the collecting of art. We're not just celebrating these women by coming and viewing the show -- it's actually packed full of things for everyone to enjoy. But, also, let's start collecting. This is a perfect place to start."

NAN What's Up on 02/18/2018

Print Headline: Louder And Prouder

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