Thanks to Helma Groot and Stephanie Rond, 2010 will be a year of blazed trails for creative women in Columbus. Six months ago the two friends and visual artists founded CAW (Creative Arts of Women), an open-membership collective enabling local artistic ladies to share work, host group shows, perform community service, and support each other’s careers. An opening reception for Definitions Of Character, CAW’s first official exhibit, will take place on Thursday, January 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Main Library’s Carnegie Gallery.
Definitions of Character is a self-portrait exhibition designed to introduce the members of CAW. Participating artists include Heather Alexander, Laura Alexander, Melissa Ayotte, Sharon Bell, Cyndi Bellerose, Mandy Cook, Patty De Maria, Betsy De Fusco, Sarah Fairchild, Elizabeth Gerdeman, Judy Chestnut Gerdeman, Kim Glover, Marina Goldshteyn, Mollie Hannon, Eliza Jones, Amy Kesting, Stephanie Livingston, Terri Maloney-Houston, Amandda Tirey Graham, Helma Groot, Kristen Marra Marek, Barb Morrison, Amy Neiwirth, Katie Niewierski, Mabi Ponce de Leon, Jessica Prunty, Stephanie Rond, Rachel Rowen, Cat Sheridan, Carolyn Slebodnik, Roxanne Smith-Mansell, Alissa Sorenson, Melissa Vogley Woods, Barb Vogel, Laura Yanping Lu, and Wendy Yeager. A portion of the exhibit’s proceeds will benefit CHOICES, a nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating domestic violence.
“Being an artist can be very lonely at times because you spend so much time in a studio working by yourself,” Helma said. “It can be hard to motivate yourself, so it’s really good to have a group that will help and support you.” With 50 members and counting, CAW represents a variety of disciplines including ceramics, installation art, jewelry design, painting, paper art, photography, printmaking, sculpture, fiber art, performing arts, and arts administration.
The ladies of CAW plan to host two more exhibits in 2010. “For me, it’s all about creating that community of support,” Stephanie said. “We have monthly meetings where each one of us talks about our goals and what we’re working on.” She’s excited to see all of the self-portraits from Definitions of Character united in one place and how the public will respond to them. “There are some real movers and shakers from the local art world who are in this group,” she said. “We’re so honored and excited to have them.”
Definitions of Character runs through February 19 and is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. For more information, visit CAW’s Facebook page.
Alexandra Kelley is a featured writer for Columbus Underground and can be reached at alexandra477.com.