A couple of years ago, I was honored to be chosen as a participating artist in SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day, an annual international celebration of “women’s creativity and gender parity activism” held on the fourth Saturday in March. Louisville’s celebration began in 2008, thanks to the dedication and commitment of playwright Nancy Gall-Clayton and the late theater director Kathi E.B. Ellis. I think I got included because Nancy had attended a reading I’d done and loved the first line of It Should Have Been You: “Once I decided to kill her, the rest was surprisingly easy.”
In all honesty, I was thrilled to be asked! I got to spend the afternoon hanging out with a bunch of amazing women in various art forms—visual art, poetry, music, playwriting, and dance. We came from different generations and markedly diverse backgrounds and genres, yet we shared a passion for our work.
Each of us spent a few minutes talking about our artistic journeys and doing brief demonstrations/readings. As a dancer-turned-writer, I remember talking about how central dance had been in my life and how writing helped me find a renewed purpose and meaning once injury had ended my performing career. Like so many others, my involvement in creative work has been a continuous source of salvation and reinvention.
This past year, I had an opportunity to pay it forward when Kathi Ellis passed away and Nancy Gall-Clayton stepped back from coordinating the event. I joined a volunteer team of amazing women led by writer Kimberly Crum and visual artist Mari Mujica who took over coordinating the event. It’s been a wonderful experience to work with talented women artists on the team and to discover and solicit artists for this year’s slate. Here’s a brief rundown of the outstanding Louisville and Southern Indiana women artists who’ll be presenting:
Hannah Drake (spoken word)
Annette Skaggs (mezzo-soprano)
Selene Phillips (poet)
Linda Erzinger (3D visual)
Carol Ralph (fabric artist)
Marta Miranda Straub (poet)
Ebony Jordan (actor)
Theresa Bautista (choreographer/dancer)
Leigh Ann Yost (musician)
Debra Clary (storyteller)
In addition to presentations by these artists, actors Susan McNeese Lynch and Megan Burnett will perform a dramatic scene from one of Nancy’s plays that Kathi directed.
If you’re in the area, I’d love for you to come to this free event. And if not, check out the nearest SWAN event in your area. I guarantee you’ll come away with buckets of inspiration from hanging with women artists excited about their work. We’re a feisty group!
Saturday, March 28 2-3:30 PM
Main Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library
Free! Light refreshments served following the artist presentation