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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Collaborative art exhibit in library celebrates female artists

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The exhibit will be in the Francais A. Drexel Library for the remainder of the semester. PHOTO: Leslie Quan ’22

Ten female student artists created an exhibit that focuses on female empowerment to be displayed on the first floor of the Francis A. Drexel Library starting on Feb. 4 and throughout the rest of the semester.

The art exhibition is a collaborative collection between Martha Easton, Ph.D., assistant professor of art history, Jenifer Baldwin, associate director for public services, Jeanne Bracy, associate art gallery director, and the students of Kathleen Vaccaro’s, adjunct professor of art, Drawing I course.

Vaccaro’s students were split into 10 groups, and each group extensively researched a female artist. After learning about the respective artist, the students in each group collaborated on a research essay about the artist, along with the theme of the display.

Baldwin said this is an opportunity for students to curate books for the library that are meant to improve the inclusivity of the collection and the representation of women artists in the collection as well.

“My goal was to empower students to feel like they actually participate in shaping the future of the collection, not just as users of it, but to build a collection that’s contemporary and might actually engage students,” Baldwin said.

Each group picked 10 new books to add into the library’s collection, totaling 100 new books. A bookplate, or decorative label, was placed in each book chosen by the students, so that even 50 years from now, there will be records of which books were picked by students.

Gabriella Youshock ’20 worked on the display of artist Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, an 18th-century French portrait painter.

“Learning about these women that are, a lot of the time, not talked about in [art] classes that we have here is eye open- ing,” Youshock said.

With this year being the 100th year anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment, the amendment which gave women the right to vote, this display is all the more meaningful, according to Easton.

“I think part of the idea was to have it link into all of these events on campus that have to do with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage and just the fight for equal rights for women and the representation of women,” Easton said.

In addition to the portraits, Vaccaro’s class also made a large group drawing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

“Students in my Drawing I course worked together on a group drawing inspired by a photograph from the 1913 Suffrage Parade in Washington, D.C.,” Vaccaro said. “It was the first suffragist parade in Washington D.C. and the first large, organized march on Washington.”

This drawing is also located on the first floor of the library. Bracy said there is still much-needed progress, but projects like this demonstrate past action.

“Highlighting women, this is a year to mark a celebration and see where we still need to go,” Bracy said.

By the end result, Easton stressed how proud she is of the work the students put in.

“We’ve got to lift each other up,” Baldwin said. “The artwork we create, the journalism we create, and the work that we all do is properly reflected in our cultural history.”

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