YWCA NorthEastern NY celebrates International Women’s Day through Schenectady art exhibit

Woman gestures to an art piece

Artist Mariah Brown talks about her multi-medium piece "Gilded," and how it was created after she accidentally spilled red stain onto the canvas, Wednesday at the YWCA NorthEastern NY's 3rd Annual Inspiring Women Project art exhibit in partnership with C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios in Schenectady.

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SCHENECTADY — The YWCA NorthEastern NY, in partnership with CREATE Community Studios, chose one of its biggest days on the calendar to host the first night of an art exhibition of more than 35 local artists to empower women (trans-inclusive) and non-binary persons.

“It’s International Women’s Day so of course that’s the best day to be celebrating, empowering and inspiring women,” Danielle Schimpf, YWCA administrative coordinator, said. “It’s always going to be an important day and important event for us, then we get bigger and better every year.”

This past Wednesday’s reception offered a view of more than 50 pieces of art on a variety of mediums that will be on display through this coming Wednesday, March 15. 

“We have some [YWCA] clients who are in the art show and giving their art to us for the art show, which is definitely a really awesome opportunity,” Schimpf said. “Clients come and see it for free, get inspired to see some art and maybe submit their own artwork next year.”

Local artist Mariah Brown had two pieces on display Wednesday evening.

“The YWCA has shown me so much love and, the past year, so much support,” Brown said. “They’ve been supporters and purchasers of my artwork. I’m always honored to support their work.”

One piece, “Baby Heirs: Baby Hairs and Afros,” depicts four young African American girls with different hair styles. Brown said it was a digital print on canvas, then coated in epoxy resin.

“I really like working with epoxy resin, it gives you a lot of versatility, a lot of texture and helps make your work pop,” Brown said. 

Her second piece transformed from one idea to another.

“Kind of combined is a lot of different media combined,” Brown explained. “It’s like crystals, broken glass, mirrors, spray paint, acrylic, and then it’s coated in epoxy resin.”

That wasn’t the original vision.

“It started out as a therapeutic piece, one that I was just trying to explore with some abstract themes, and then things kind of went a little wrong,” Brown said, explaining that she spilled red stain onto the canvas in a painting mishap. “I once had an elementary school art teacher, Mrs. Lee, and she always taught us that there’s never any mistakes, similar to Bob Ross, you know, happy accidents. Anything that we do if something goes wrong, is to work with it and that’s kind of what I channeled for that piece to try to work with.”

Her textured piece is entitled “Guilded” and her artist statement states, “Everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold.”

Artist Fany De La Cruz, a native of the Dominican Republic, was last year’s New Revelation, being discovered as an artist by a counselor at the YWCA and encouraging her art.

“I was at a table outside and I started painting a chicken from my country like one that my father used to have and somebody went outside and asked if I was doing this?,” De  La Cruz said. “No you don’t? You know I am an artist and you are an artist!”

After showing several pieces last year, De La Cruz returned with two pieces — both expressing beauty.

“My young lady is every Dominican woman in one,” De La Cruz pointed out about her female portrait. “That’s why she has all the colors. She has all the hairstyles, all the perfume, the eyes, it’s a presentation of Dominica women in the middle of the carnival [Dominican Independence Day, Feb. 27].”

Her second entry, “Majestic,” depicted two vibrant male peacocks, both looking over their respective shoulders.

“The peacock, it’s not about shade, it’s not about color, it’s about personalities and I made two male peacocks, bright and wonderful,” De La Cruz said. “It’s the personality. You can be a gentleman, no matter what color, what shape, whatever you are, it’s about your personality, it is how you represent your personality. Yes, I believe me, I want to find a gentleman like this.”

The exhibit continues through this coming Wednesday, March 15 at the YWCA at 44 Washington St. in Schenectady.

Reach reporter Stan Hudy at [email protected] and follow him @StanHudy on Twitter.

Categories: Art, Life and Arts, Life and Arts, News, News, Schenectady, Schenectady County

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