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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Women’s Student Association celebrates student talent for Women’s History Month

Art exhibition and open mic seek UF students’ own interpretations of feminism

Beginning this Thursday, the Reitz Union will be lit up with the vibrant color schemes of artwork, the powerful punch of oral performances and the musicality of dance as students take to the stage to present their work honoring this Women’s History Month. 

UF’s own Women’s Student Association, an organization dedicated to the education and advancement of female empowerment, intends to make the month of March all about Gainesville’s idea of womanhood. 

WSA is sponsoring an on-campus art exhibition March 24, showcasing local artists depicting what feminism looks like in Gainesville. On March 30, WSA will follow up with an open mic for students to share their own spoken work at the Reitz Union. Interest forms are linked in the bio of the WSA Instagram page.

The events, each held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., intend to push WSA’s theme for March: locally grown. WSA leaders want to see what a local perspective of feminism looks like. 

Paintings, portraits and sketches conveying experiences with and definitions of womanhood will pervade the art exhibition event. UF students of all gender identities have the opportunity to portray female figures in their lives, women’s history and concepts of female empowerment. 

Padma Adimula, WSA’s Women’s History Month director, wanted to bring something different to the month with the theme.

“We just really wanted to hear students’ voices. I feel like guest speakers are something we do very commonly at our events,” the 19-year-old biology and women’s studies sophomore said. “We want to switch it up this time and maybe just hear what the students have to say.” 

As for the open mic event occurring at WSA’s closing ceremony, the Rion Ballroom anticipates a slew of poetry, spoken word, prose, song and other pieces highlighting messages of womanhood. For an emotionally driven performance, students are offered to draw upon WSA’s national theme: providing healing, promoting hope. 

The theme, which students are also encouraged to portray at the art exhibition, celebrates the role of women in the frontlines during a global pandemic. 

“We’re really just sharing these women’s voices that haven’t been heard and exposing what goes on in the healthcare industry,” Adimula said. 

Themes such as this go beyond just a one-night event for WSA. The organization looks to Women’s History Month as a time to prioritize the health of female students. 

“We’ve been handing out a lot of self-care materials and empowering the students in our club to figure out what that means for them,” Adimula said. 

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Nonetheless, the upcoming art exhibition and open mic events at the Reitz Union ensure to be evenings of educational value and entertainment, with even UF’s belly dancing group – Belly Gators – set to make an appearance. 

Belly Gators president Patricia Concepcion is excited to show off the pieces the team has been preparing for the open mic event. With flashy, colorful costumes complementing an upbeat drum-backed performance, Concepcion and the Belly Gators hope to celebrate the female body through their artistry. 

“We strive to make every woman feel powerful in their own skin and have fun while doing so,” wrote the 21-year-old chemical engineering senior in an Instagram message. “It’s always a pleasure to perform for the WSA since I feel like our values closely align.”

Contact Jared Teitel @jteitel@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @jaredteitel.

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