WomenArts: SWAN Inspirations from Bulgaria & San Francisco

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Inspiring Idea from Bulgaria:
Create a Group Painting for SWAN Day
Dear Women in the Arts & Media Coalit,

For the past four years Dessi Dimova and the other women of SWAN Festival Bulgaria have found wonderfully creative ways to bring the spirit of Support Women Artists Now Day to their country. Their past SWAN events have included a variety of exhibits, performances, and workshops, including a class where people learned how to make swan designs with the steamed milk in their cappucinos!

If you are looking for a fun SWAN project for visual artists, the Bulgarian women created a great model last year. For SWAN Day 2014 they recruited 8 women artists to create a group painting in the middle of the upscale Bulgaria Mall in Sofia. They decided to create a larger-than-life woman's face that would reflect the theme of diversity.

The final piece (which you can see in more detail on their Facebook page) is created of twelve canvases which are each one foot square. Each artist painted or used collage techniques to create one or two squares, and the composite woman's face has a wonderful variety of textures and racial/ethnic characteristics. The prominent multi-colored eyes suggest the power of women working together and looking hopefully towards the future.

You could do a SWAN group painting anywhere, but it was an inspired touch for the Bulgarian women to create this giant Amazon face in the midst of a busy shopping mall so that the shoppers could have a direct connection with women artists and a woman-centered work. As an added bonus, young women in classic swan ballet costumes passed out refreshments to the shoppers and gave them information about SWAN Day.
At the end of the day, the painters posed with their squares while showing their solidarity with women artists around the world by doing the official SWAN Salute (one hand up to look like a swan's head).   You can see a larger version of the picture below on their Facebook page. Mirella Karadjova has also posted a 12-minute video on YouTube showing the creation of the piece.

Artists from SWAN Festival Bulgaria 2014
Bulgarian women artists show their work at SWAN Day 2014

Asian American Women Create "A Place of Her Own"  
Over the past six months fine artist Cynthia Tom and Trinity Ordona, Ph.D., of City College of San Francisco's Healing for Change Center, have collaborated with the Asian American Women Artists Association and the Asian Women's Shelter to offer A Place of Her Own, a unique arts & healing program for Asian-Pacific American women in social services.

As their program syllabus explains, almost all of the family support and social services in the Asian-Pacific American community are provided by Asian-Pacific American women.  These women service providers are at serious risk of burn-out because of the silencing and submissive cultural behaviors that are “expected” of Asian-Pacific American women.  It is culturally taboo for Asian-Pacific American women to seek help for depression.

Cynthia Tom and Trinity Ordona have designed A Place of Her Own to help women build personal strength and clarity from the inside out by combining meditation techniques with creative art modalities that relieve stress and heal burnout. The participants study the chakras and meditation techniques, participate in discussions, do written exercises, and are asked to create art works in response to the questions “If you had a place of your own, what would it be? What kind of space would fully express your imagination and values?

The exercises help the participants clarify their own aspirations and address individual, family and cultural patterns of dysfunction in a supportive environment. No arts background is required since the art works are usually created from found objects, and skilled artists are on hand to guide any participants who need assistance.  The long term goal of this project is to generate a sense of community and creative space for women to reconnect with themselves, reverse patterns of trauma and make their hopes and dreams visible.
Painting Created At SWAN Festival Bulgaria 2014 
SWAN Day Bulgaria Painting
The painting above consists of 12 squares painted by 8 Bulgarian women artists.

To see a larger image,  click here. To watch a video about the piece, click here.

A Place of Her Own

The art of the Fall 2014 participants in A Place of Her Own (described in the left column) will be shown in an Open House on Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 6 - 9 p.m. at 1890 Bryant Street, 302 Gallery in San Francisco. There will also be a talk by the artists on Saturday, March 21 from 1 - 4 p.m. at the same location. There is a suggested donation of $10 - $25 at the door for both events, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Since 2009, 60 women have participated in A Place of Her Own workshops and their art has been featured in thought-provoking exhibitions at the de Young Museum, Driftwood Salon Gallery and SOMarts Cultural Center. To see samples of the works created for these exhibits, please visit the links for past exhibitions on AAWAA's page about A Place of Her Own.

Art from A Place of Her Own
Everyone Is Invited to Celebrate SWAN Day!
Support Women Artists Now Day/SWAN Day is a grassroots "do it yourself" holiday, and everyone is invited to join us in honoring women's creativity. The official date for the 8th International SWAN Day is Saturday, March 28, 2015, but please feel free to celebrate it any time during March or April that is convenient for you. The spirit of SWAN events is far more important than the exact dates.

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 2015.  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 #StageOpps & #ScreenOpps Newsletters?
Women in Arts and Media Coalition in collaboration with WomenArts and the League of Professional Theatre Women is publishing free newsletters for theatre and film/video artists listing submission opportunities, grants, auditions, residencies and more.  Click the links below or follow the #StageOpps and #ScreenOpps tags on Twitter.  There are links at the bottom of each funding newsletter which will let you sign up to receive them by email.

Theatre Artists - You can see the current issue of #StageOpps (formerly the Theatre Funding News) by clicking here.

Film/Video Artists - You can see the current issue of #ScreenOpps (formerly the Film/Video Funding News) by clicking here.

To Submit a Listing - To submit a listing for the #StageOpps or #ScreenOpps newsletters, please visit the Women in Arts and Media Coalition's Submit a Listing Page

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