Stow to celebrate female artists

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies

Two Stow artists are giving themselves and their fellow female creators an expressive outlet during the pandemic, and are giving the city a chance to recognize and celebrate their work. 

Alana Powell and Leila Griffith recently received approval from the city's Arts Commission to organize a women-only public art project in March in honor of Women's History Month.

The Stow Celebration of Women in the Arts will be the first of its kind in the city.

"Our hope for this exhibition is to promote artists, local businesses, and develop a network within the community to foster a vibrant and collaborative arts community," Powell said. "We both have friends in the community who are also artists. Some are very good at promoting their work and others are very reserved. We wanted to create a way to celebrate other women artists in the community who might have work they are so passionate about but have not found the right venue or show to showcase their work."

The centerpiece of the project will be three life-size sculptures created by Powell and Griffiths that represents women from the past, present and future. The pieces will be on display in front of City Hall. 

Organizers are still working out the details for other venues, but they hope to display pieces in public buildings and local businesses, and possibly create a map or passport that will encourage foot traffic to participating locations. 

They are also hoping to find individuals and businesses who are able to sponsor artists who want to participate but do not have the revenue to complete their projects. 

"There are so many hidden costs to creating something, bringing it to the public and showing it," Griffiths explained. 

Those costs could include paints, canvasses and brushes, but may also include a camera to capture a performance, the rights to accompanying music, or even childcare.

"I need someone to watch my kids so I can work because I can't have them running around my studio with toxic stuff all around. If we're not offering people a way to curb some of the costs, it's really hard to make art," Powell said. 

Powell, who has ADHD, depression and anxiety, noted that emotional struggles are common amongst creatives, and she hopes this project will give them something to look forward to. 

"Coming into winter, those things get worse anyways and now it's worse in the pandemic," she said. "So having a purpose, having something to do and also knowing that the work is going to get people out of their homes in a few months and give them a sense of purpose, is really important when everything else is shut down."

Stow Mayor John Pribonic said he is looking forward to the art project and anticipates that it will be a success.

"Whenever we put on an event, our people come out and support," he said. 

The exhibition is open to all artists who identify as female and reside in Stow. Media can include sculpture, paints, prints, mixed media, photography, dance and musical performances and all sizes will be considered. 

To submit work, include a cover letter describing the exhibition proposal, sketches or photos of the proposal and an artist resume including biography, educational background and exhibition record. Entries are due Jan. 2, 2021, via email to StowArts44224@gmail. 

A committee of the Stow Arts Commission will review the proposals and make recommendations with participating venues. The committee will also assist artists in locating sponsorship for proposed works, but cannot guarantee financial aid. 

Artists will be notified by Jan. 8, and the final work must be submitted by Feb. 26. Works will be installed Feb. 27 to be displayed throughout March 2021. 

For more information, email Powell and Griffiths at . 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ. 

Kimmy Henderson puts the finishing touches on a holiday painting at the entrance of Stow City Hall, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Stow, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]
Kimmy Henderson puts the finishing touches on a holiday painting at the entrance of Stow City Hall, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, in Stow, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]