Although not the actual “Final Friday,” March 18 kicked off the first of these events for 2016. March is Women’s History Month and those at the David Owsley Museum of Art recognize the importance of celebrating our female artists, activists, and friends in the community. The evening began with food and beverages served in the Sculpture Court, which was provided by Ball State’s catering service. Guests arriving could have their portrait sketched by Janice Carter, or a poem written for them by Jeffrey Pearson or Michael Brockley, while they waited for the artist demonstration or PechaKucha talks to begin. The DJ for the evening, Jannell, kept the mood upbeat and encouraged the visitors to visit to the current 1 in 3 exhibition at the museum. Timely to the theme of the evening, this show is a collection of works describing women’s struggles with gender-based violence across the world. It was a great opportunity for the guests to experience.
The first of the night’s events was a demonstration by Muncie’s own Holly Lay. A former
Ball State student and graduate of the School of Art, Holly received her BFA in photography and intermedia arts in 2013. Still continuing her love of photography she gave an insightful demonstration on Polaroid emulsion transfers and cyanotypes. Both of which are analog photography processes, dating back to some of the earlier advancements in photography. She was an knowledgeable speaker who warmly answered the audience’s questions and encouraged them to come close to fully experience these intimate processes.
After her presentation, I asked
how she believes her presence and art fits with the theme of women’s empowerment. She said, “I use film because I have a lot of old Polaroid photos that were my mother’s, and they’ve always inspired me to continue using film that way. As far as the processes go, the woman who is credited as the first female photographer, Anna Atkins, made cyanotype prints.” Women’s historical underrepresentation in the arts has been controversial for many years, so giving homage to the first female photographer is an important addition to this particular First Friday.
The PechaKucha talks began shortly after the demonstration, in the museum’s Recital Hall. Five Muncie women stepped up to speak about what power, the evening’s theme, meant to them. Heather Armstrong gave an encouraging talk about her passion for the city of Muncie, and her efforts in neighborhood revitalization. She used this talk as a platform to inspire others to love and care for their city. Niki Fitzgerald is a world traveler with a mission to bring awareness to women’s freedoms. She inspired the crowd with her stories of discrimination and how she has worked to create educational opportunities for women in India. Amanda Holmquist, a retired roller derby girl, gave her story about finding her place amongst a “strong, sassy, and feminine” derby team, which with her marketing skills, was able to create a successful and flourishing team for women in Muncie. Sara Renee Beaveris recounted her experiences of being a woman competing in the male dominated sport of field trials where hunting dogs compete against one another. She and her dogs break down barriers in competing and winning against the odds. Beaveris also openly expressed her love for photography and environmental conservation. The last speaker of the night struck the crowd with her humor and bluntness. Monique Armstrong who gave us all a lesson in using power responsibly said, “Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. You have to. I’ve been up here faking it this whole time.” Armstrong’s message was to be passionate enough that you can stand in front of a crowd and say what needs to be said while letting your power come from within. Her message was to be confident in our abilities and ourselves, no matter what the opposition may be.