As someone who previously studied art history, Coral Smith has been an eyewitness to the unbalanced domination of men in the art field.
Now, the 33-year-old Gainesville Girls Rock Camp co-director and self-proclaimed feminist is finding ways to honor and uplift women in every way possible.
“The fight to include female and non-men's voices in the narrative is extremely important,” Smith said. “We have a long way to go in terms of how we lift up those voices who are marginalized by their gender.”
A step in the right direction was manifested during the Gainesville Girls Rock Camp’s performance at the Harn Museum of Art Thursday night.
Museum-goers were greeted by art, performances and activities that comprised an after-hours event organized by the museum’s education department to celebrate Women’s History Month.
The event was part of the “Museum Nights” program, through which the museum hosts a free event open to the public every second Thursday of the month with the purpose of highlighting the exhibitions on view or specific thematic content.
This month’s event, appropriately titled “HERstory,” highlighted the work of female artists on exhibit at the museum, with the goal of connecting to the UF and greater Gainesville communities.
“For so long in museums and in art history, women artists have been overlooked,” student engagement manager at the Harn Museum Allysa Peyton said. “Celebrating that diversity within our collection is important to me.”
During the event, docents and curators conducted short art tours for attendees, showcasing a curated collection of their favorite work by female artists on display.
Additionally, individuals who attended the event were able to experience “Archi-Sculpture,” an immersive art installation that explored the influence of architecture on sculpture created by UF graduate student India Brooks, who is seeking a MFA in sculpture.
Aside from the numerous pieces of art on display, attendees relished in performances and activities organized by Gainesville Girls Rock Camp.
The local rock camp — along with others of its kind around the world — sits underneath the Girls Rock Camp Alliance, an international organization focused on teaching girls and non-men how to feel empowered with their voices in a traditionally male-dominated space.
At the event, Gainesville Girls Rock Camp organized a set by DJ Tessa, put on four live performances by camp volunteers and alumni — including Nolia Joy, rugh, atomic tourist and Ash — and coordinated art stations to teach attendees how to create zines and patches. The camp also used the event to announce to museum-goers it is now shifting its name to We Rock Gainesville.
Lorena Bacallao, an 18-year-old UF advertising freshman, attended the event as a first-time visitor at the Harn Museum. She loves exploring all that the city of Gainesville has to offer, she said, and thought this event was an excellent opportunity to appreciate the art created by women, for women.
“I think it's nice to commemorate women and what they've done in the past and how we can use their knowledge and feel inspired to do the same or more in the future,” Bacallao said.
Contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amandacrubio.
Amanda Rubio is a first-year journalism student at the University of Florida and an Avenue staff writer at the Alligator. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her reading romance novels; binge-watching Glee, which she’s watched an unnecessary amount of times; or somehow finding more ways to make Harry Styles her entire personality.