Coburn Art Gallery celebrates 100 years of women’s suffrage with “Women of resilience” exhibition

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Teresa Hahn

“The Queens” by Erin Mulligan

Teresa Hahn

On Aug. 31, 2020, the Ashland University Coburn Art Gallery celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by opening their exhibition titled “Woman of Resilience.” The exhibition will be open until Oct. 1.

The amendment was ratified on Aug. 18, 1920 and gave women in the U.S. the right to vote. 100 years later, the exhibition portrays the same important message: go out and vote!

The exhibition was curated by Priscilla Roggenkamp, Patricia O’Neill Sacha and Judith Sterling and includes the works of 22 female artists. Visitors will experience many different mediums and perspectives for the same themes: strength, suffrage and social issues.

The exhibition features work from 2019 AU alumnus Kiana Ziegler, Cynthia Petry and Roggenkamp. Artist Sarah Curry’s works consistently feature teenage girls and female empowerment.

“22 women have come together to create works that have something to say,” Roggenkamp said. “The artwork as they hang together in the gallery are greater than each individual piece. They speak to one another and create a conversation open for all to engage in.”

Preparing the gallery, Petry tried to draw in a diverse crowd.

“When I think about programming, I’m thinking about art majors and minors, the campus community, and the Ashland community and what ways the works can act on it as a whole,” Petry said. “The idea [of this exhibition] already has something that everyone can gravitate towards.”

Although the exhibition celebrates the centennial anniversary of women’s suffrage, the artwork focuses on past and modern issues alike. For example, Petry’s “June, 1963” celebrates the first woman astronaut and highlights female discrimination in STEM fields today.

“It’s about empowering as much as overcoming society today for women,” Petry said.

The Coburn Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Because of COVID-19, there may be no more than 15 visitors in the gallery at one time and groups no larger than five. Face masks must be worn at all times on the AU campus, including outside. The space itself is conducive to social distancing to keep visitors safe.

“During this COVID time, stopping by the gallery is something we still can do. I encourage everyone to take some time to stop by and enjoy the works at the Coburn Gallery,” Roggenkamp said.