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home : commentary : thisissue March 26, 2017

Art with purpose
Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson, above
by Norma Smith Olson and Kathy Magnuson


Gorillas in the wild use a variety of sounds to communicate - laughing, purring, whimpering, barking and screaming. The Guerrilla Girls - masked avengers in the art world - have chosen to laugh and bark.

Something more potent than whimpering was required to call out gender inequalities in the art world 30 years ago, so these activist women developed a rare combination of using humor to make serious statements and raising important questions. The Guerrilla Girls came together around the same time the Minnesota Women's Press was founded to give a voice to women's words, experiences and values.

Over the decades, both the Guerrilla Girls and the Women's Press have found that some things have improved - and sometimes the discrimination just takes a new form, becoming more subtle. "Tokenism" is what the Guerrilla Girls call it in the art world. For example, when one woman artist of color is included in an exhibition and it is then assumed that the "women" and "artists of color" categories are covered.

The New York City-based Guerrilla Girls are coming to the Twin Cities in January and March to give the Twin Cities art world a shake-up. In this issue focusing on women in the arts, we ask questions like:
• Does women's art matter today?
• Do women create art differently and why should that matter?
• What does "woman" mean in today's more gender-fluid world?

In addition to an interview with the self-dubbed Frida Kahlo - one of the Guerrilla Girls. Throughout the issue you'll find stories of Minnesota women artists and events developed by the coalition of more than 20 organizations and individuals who worked together to instigate the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover. It's been called the largest arts collaboration ever in the Twin Cities.

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The Guerrilla Girls challenge us to be our own "Guerrilla Girls" and call out what we'd like changed. Your own arts activism could be as simple as being an informed consumer of the arts. Buying art produced by women and tickets to theater productions written or directed by women. Asking for more women artists in gallery exhibits and more women performers at music venues.

The needed change you see might be in technology or education or public policy. Whether you'd like to see change in the art world or in your workplace or neighborhood or family - what are you waiting for?

Coming up:
February's
theme is "women and guns". Do you have a story about guns? Tell us your story. Share your opinions. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2016
February Advertising Sections:
• Health and Wellness Guide
• Women and Pets Guide
• Women Mean Business Guide
• GoSeeDo/Calendar Guide
Deadline: Jan. 10, 2016

March's theme is "sisters in spirit." How does spirituality show up in your every day life? Tell us your story. Share your opinions. Send up to 150 words to editor@womenspress.com
Deadline: Feb.10, 2016
January advertising sections:
• Camp and Activity Guide
• Education and Lifelong Learning Guide
• Girlfriends' Guide to the New Year
• GoSeeDo/Calendar Guide
Deadline: Feb. 10, 2016
March Advertising Sections:
• Camp and Activity Guide
• Elder Guide
• Spirituality Guide
• GoSeeDo Guide/Calendar Guide
Deadline: Feb. 10, 2016





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