SWAN Events in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Cleveland & New York
Our celebration of Support Women Artists Now/SWAN Month continues in this issue with articles about SWAN events in Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Cleveland, and New York.
We have 178 events on the SWAN Calendar so far. We will email our traditional "big list" of events on our official SWAN Day this Saturday, but we will be continuing our coverage in the coming weeks since there are so many wonderful events to report on. Special thanks to Suma Nagaraj for her help writing this week's articles.
If you have pictures of your events that you would like to share, please post them to our Facebook page. Thanks to all of you for your inspiring work this year!
For Sixth SWAN Day Pittsburgh
Artists Share Their Untold Stories
No Name Players will present the sixth annual SWAN Day Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. this Saturday, March 29 at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In previous SWAN Day Pittsburgh events, the company’s artistic directors, Tressa Glover and Don DiGiulio, have asked artists to create new songs, dances, short plays, films, and visual works based on the lives and words of Pennsylvania women.
This year they have added a new twist inspired by a line from Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” They have asked each artist to create a work “based on a story they have never told before.” They have gathered these stories into an evening of short performances that will feature many of Pittsburgh’s best musicians, dancers, theater artists, filmmakers, poets, comediennes and visual artists.
On Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. they will offer the second annual SWAN Day Pittsburgh Junior event which will feature performances by girls aged 12 -18.
The innovative pair has also partnered with two other arts organizations this year to create a SWAN Week in Pittsburgh featuring women artists. Their partners are the American Jewish Museum, which is hosting an exhibit by Micaela Amateau Amato through April 25, and the Toonseum, which is offering $1.00 off admission for women and girls during SWAN Week to their exhibit, Wonder Women: On Page and Off, an exploration of the role of women in the comics industry.
The Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (the LA FPI) was founded in 2010 by Laura Shamas and Jennie Webb as part of a groundswell of gender parity efforts across the country. The LA FPI is working to create a nexus of support for artists, theaters, and theatergoers that will raise awareness of gender parity issues and foster accountability within the theatrical community.
The SWAN Day Action Fest will include readings of plays written and directed by women, two sessions of impromptu "Micro-Reads" (one-page readings open to women writers in attendance), and opportunities for theater-makers of all genders to network and find future collaborators.
Plays being read at the SWAN Day Action Fest were selected through a blind, open submission process curated by Little Black Dress INK. There will be plays by Velina Hasu, Debbie Bolsky, Becca Anderson, and Sarah Tuft.
The poem caused a sensation when Beah Richards first read it in 1951 at a Chicago peace conference. It was inspired by the trial of Willie McGee, an African-American from Laurel, Mississippi who was sentenced to death in 1945 for allegedly raping a white housewife. Although many notable people spoke out on his behalf, he was executed in 1951.
In Richards’ poem, she asks white women to consider their own lack of power and their complicity in the perpetuation of the racism that resulted in the death of McGee and many other black men. You can see Richards performing excerpts of the poem and hear her describe the first reading on this YouTube clip.
The Maiden Voyage reading will feature a cast of talented women, who will perform the poem with a nuanced reading that will involve music and movement. Admission to the event is free, but the Ensemble asks for donations in order to support future programming.
On Sunday, March 30th, 2014, Legros Cultural Arts will host a SWAN Day event commemorating the life and achievements of Chantal Legros, their Founder and Executive Director who passed away unexpectedly on January 14th, 2014. The event will be at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center at 153-10 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica, NY 11432 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Chantal Legros was an energetic advocate for women artists, and WomenArts joins her family and friends in mourning her loss. Legros launched her Women in the Arts series for SWAN Day 2009, and every year she created wonderful SWAN Day celebrations and other events featuring women artists in different art forms throughout the year. In 2013 she produced 5 events through her Women in the Arts Series, featuring over 70 female artists with an audience of over 2,500.
The March 30th SWAN Day event will feature performances by artists who have worked with Legros Cultural Arts over the years in both its Women in the Arts Series (including dancers/choreographers and vocalists) and its Theater Ensemble Program. In addition, art work produced by participants in their Annual Multicultural Arts and Crafts Festival will be on display.
SWAN Day is successful because of women like Chantal Legros all over the world – talented, energetic, hard-working women artists who are determined to leave the world a better place than they found it. The growth of Legros Cultural Arts over the past fifteen years in spite of all the economic challenges, is a wonderful tribute to Chantal’s optimism and perseverance. We applaud her commitment to women artists and to her community.
Although her untimely death is a terrible loss, her life was a shining inspiration. We hope that she is resting peacefully in the knowledge that there are thousands of women artists around the world who share her values, and we will continue her work for as long as it takes to create the harmonious multi-cultural world she dreamed of.
Legros Cultural Arts in New York will host a SWAN Day memorial event for their Founder and Executive Director, Chantal Legros, an enthusiastic SWAN organizer, who passed away unexpectedly in January 2014.
Volunteer at a SWAN Event
If you don't have time to organize a SWAN event of your own, but you would like to be a part of someone else's event, browse through the SWAN Calendar and look for the events that have a red asterisk (*) on the bottom line of the description box. If the event has an asterisk, it means the organizers are looking for volunteers.
Some groups are looking for artists to participate and some are looking for ushers and other help on the day of their event. If you see an event that you would like to be a part of, please use the contact information in the event listing to contact the organizers.
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If you like the work that WomenArts is doing, please consider making a contribution. Gifts of every size will be deeply appreciated!
There are no fees or application forms required to participate in SWAN Day. If you decide to create a SWAN event or if you are doing any event in March or April featuring women artists, we invite you to create a free listing on our official SWAN Calendar.
We will be featuring SWAN events in the WomenArts Blog and newsletters during March and April. If you want us to write about you, creating a listing in the SWAN Calendar is the best way to let us know about your event.
Did You Get Your Free Funding Newsletters?
Free monthly Theatre Funding Newsletters are now being published by the League of Professional Theatre Women. You can see the current issue by clicking here. To sign up for the email version of these newsletters, please click the link in the right margin of their newsletter.
Free monthly Film/Video Funding Newsletters are now being published by the Women in Arts and Media Coalition. You can see the current issue by clicking here. If you would like to sign up to receive the email version of their newsletters, please fill in the form at the bottom of their newsletter.