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BIRDS: Art Show Opening and Fundraiser

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Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville

1610 Osceola Street

Jacksonville, FL 32204

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BIRDS
Art Show Opening and Fall Fundraiser
Opening September 20, 2019, 5:30- 7:30 p.m.
(image by Penny Edwards)

Six artists. Six writers. A plot to change the world, bird by bird, word by word.

This fall we are celebrating birds and the role women have played in the science, art, and conservation of birds. We’ve paired up six local women artists and six local women writers to present their individual and collective perspectives on the physical, spiritual, and emotional significance of birds in our own backyard. Themes of migration, immigration, spiritual awakening, truthtelling, and emancipation will run throughout this show.

DETAILS
Date: Sept. 20, 2019
Time: 5:30-7:30 (wine and beer served for a donation)
Location: Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville (a historic home in Riverside)
Address: 1610 Osceola Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204
Purpose: Supports our local outreach programs

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RAISING THE VOICES AND PERSPECTIVES OF WOMEN

This show and our fall writing classes were inspired by two key texts: the well-loved Bird By Bird: Instructions for Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott, and When Women Were Birds, by Terry Tempest Williams.

As Williams says, birds are important as "both a physical presence and metaphor." The title, When Women Were Birds, represents "both a retrieval of our voices as women and a remembering of what it means to speak. We know that in the avian world it is largely the male birds that sing, but what we know through research is that the females know the songs. They just choose to remain silent. What might that mean metaphorically if we as women begin remembering, singing those songs, and refusing to be silent?"

The question is, have we forgotten our songs, or is no one listening to — or bothering to document — what we have to say? Fact: Researchers estimate that only .5 of the world's recorded history reflects the stories of women. In today's world, this may be changing, but is it enough? This art show is provides a platform to ensure women's voices are heard.

FEATURED ARTISTS AND WRITERS

BIRDS features six women artists and six women writers giving us their “bird’s eye view” of the significance of birds in our communities. Birds are symbols of the feminine and of spiritual heights. They are also symbols for the health of a community: as go the birds, so goes the community (think canary in a coal mine). Birds call our attention to our higher purpose as a community: to create safe and beautiful places for all of us to live. We will explore these themes of interconnectedness, of migration, and transformation.

Writer/artist pairs include Jenny Anderson and Emma Greenhill, Shawana Brooks and Mary St. Germaine, Janessa Martin and Sylvi Herrick, Nancy Murrey-Settle and Penny Edwards, Alexa Naparstek and Lorn Wheeler, and Jennifer Wolfe and Suzanne Pickett. They range from an award-winning local high school student writer to an artist who recently hauled three 7-foot crows across America to spark conversations about migration and immigration.

Each pair uses poetry, art, essays, journals, and even a BIRDZINE to help our community connect with birds. In addition, we feature a collection of works by other local artists on a “community wall,” providing a platform for more female artists. We will also showcase a flock of other local women artists in our community gallery (The Aviary).

CALL TO ACTION

BIRDS is our attempt, as women writers and artists, to build a more equitable, just, connected-to-nature, and conscious community, bird by bird and word by word. We believe women (and our allies) must step to the foreground now to protect our feathered friends, metaphorically and literally. By curating this art show, we hope to begin more conversations and greater consciousness through the art and practice of writing in community.

COMMUNITY SPONSORS

Many of us learned to connect with nature by our interest in birds, and nurturing that connection is the mission of the National Audubon Society. That's why our local chapter, Duval Audubon Society, will be one of our community partners in this exhibit. Wild Birds Unlimited and the Riverside/Avondale Preservation Society will also be our sponsors and community partners.

COMMUNITY DAY IN RIVERSIDE

We're also holding a new annual event, right from our front door: Community Day in Riverside will launch on October 19, co-sponsored by the Duval Audubon Society, the Riverside-Avondale Preservation Society, and Wild Birds Unlimited. This day will include an urban bird walk, a lunch-and-learn about creating a bird-friendly backyard, and an Open Mic for female writers and singers.

BACKGROUND

Women who write, paint, protect, and educate about birds have greatly changed American culture. Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, highlighted how the use of DDT was killing our national symbol, the bald eagle. The conversations that followed sparked the environmental movement. Two Boston women, Harriet Hemenway and Minna Hall, stopped the devastating feather trade when Florida’s wading bird were on the brink of extinction. The pamphlets they distributed at their now-famous tea parties, attended by Boston socialites, eventually stopped the trade, plus helped form the Audubon social clubs that turned into the National Audubon Society.

Their work also culminated in the passage of the Weeks-McLean Law, also known as the Migratory Bird Act, by Congress on March 4, 1913. This law, “a landmark in American conservation history, outlawed market hunting and forbade interstate transport of birds,” according to Smithsonian Magazine. It was followed by passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. After 100 years of success, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act is currently under attack, with the federal government and a senator in Wyoming attempting to gut its protections to favor industry by relaxing the bird-safety guidelines. We need women and their allies to once again take the lead on protecting our these national treasures.

SCHEDULE OF RELATED EVENTS

Aug. 30Own Your Immigration Story: A community writing workshop in partnership with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (session one), 6 p.m.

Sept. 4 — “Bird By Bird,” our 12-week fall writing series, begins, 6 p.m

Sept. 15 — “Early Bird” Preview Party, 4-6 p.m.

Sept. 18 — Interview with Melissa Ross on First Coast Connect, featuring artist Sylvi Herrick and writer Janessa Williams, on how art can ignite conversation and connection

Sept. 19 — Closing Reception for Musing Women, an exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of Kalliope, the groundbreaking art and literature magazine featuring women artists and writers and published from 1979-2008 through FSCJ. We will debut our own new all-women literary publication, (a) river rising, at this show.

Sept 20 — BIRDS Art Show Opening Reception, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Oct. 6 — Artist Talk + Write, featuring the six women artists, 2-4 p.m.

Oct. 19 — Community Day in Riverside, featuring an urban bird walk, a lunch- and-learn on creating a bird-friendly backyard, and an Open Mic for local women writers and singers. All day, starting at 8:30 a.m., in Riverside.

Oct. 25Own Your Immigration Story: A community writing workshop in partnership with the Florida Immigrant Coalition (session two), 6 p.m.

Oct. 27 — Wine Women and Words, featuring our six women writers, 2.4 p.m.

Nov. 9 — Fall Writing Retreat: Migrations

Nov. 16 — JaxByJax Literary Arts Festival and launch party for our inaugural edition of (a) river rising, our new annual anthology of women writers and artists from the Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville, community

Dec. 7 — Public ReadAround of women writers from the fall semester, 2-4 p.m.

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Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville

1610 Osceola Street

Jacksonville, FL 32204

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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