Claire Cosmos / Courtesy of Nasty Women Art Month
As artist and curator Aimee Odum watched the first Nasty Women Art Show draw crowds and positive reviews, she knew what needed to happen next. Odum, who lived in Fayetteville while earning her MFA in studio art from the University of Arkansas, knew that town needed to host a repeat performance.
The first Nasty Women Art Show took place to coincide with the inauguration of President Donald Trump, who used the term “nasty woman” to describe opposing candidate Hillary Clinton. The term “Nasty Women” became a self-identifier and a rallying cry for those who supported Clinton or opposed Trump.
What: Nasty Women Art Month
When: Through April
Where: Various venues in Northwest Arkansas
Odum, now a New York City resident, said that like those who adopted the “Nasty Women” moniker, women’s rights were important to those at the University of Arkansas and surrounding artistic community.
“And it’s important to have this event in a red state,” Odum said by phone from New York, where she is preparing to open a new show at on Saturday (April 8) at Syracuse University.
She contacted a few friends invested in the art community, who jumped at the idea. What resulted was a full month of activities which kicked off on April 1 with a show by comedy storytellers That’s What She Said at Stage 18. In begins in earnest with a series of events spanning comedy, visual art and performances starting Thursday (April 6) at various venues in Fayetteville.
Among those who responded to Odum’s urging was Samantha Sigmon, who serves as one of the co-organizers of the Nasty Women Art Month events in Fayetteville. Reaching out to the art community, mostly via Facebook, more than 100 submissions were received for consideration.
Jazmyn Moon, “Golden Knight” / Courtesy of Nasty Women Art Month
“The power of the exhibit is in participation,” said Sigmon. “We accepted at least one work from each person who submitted.”
Sigmon and co-organizers Helen Maringer and Cynthia Post Hunt worked to blend the momentum of the national movement – there have been about 40 Nasty Women Art Shows in various cities following the success of the New York City debut – and also create a local event.
They wanted to be an organization “that helps women, and helps them locally,” Sigmon said. The NWA Center for Sexual Assault will be the beneficiary of much of the money raised through art sales associated with Nasty Women Art events in Northwest Arkansas. Those opportunities come in various sizes, with small works being displayed at Backspace as a low entry point toward helping the cause.
The women’s rights message is key to all of the works in the various exhibits taking place in Northwest Arkansas. But it becomes more important if people of diverse background participate in the discussion.
“People show know we’re being as inclusive as possible,” Sigmon said. “I want that message there, but I want it to be there for people who want to have a conversation.”
The New York exhibit created surprisingly little negative reaction, Odum said.
“It was easy for things to go wrong. We could have trolls, and we could have people protesting.
“We just had so many people on board who were passionate about this exhibit,” she said.
Likewise, Sigmon is aware of the possibility that people will react strongly in Fayetteville. She just wants people to come out, participate and explore.
“If they don’t like it, that’s fine. But if they took a moment to think about it, that’s worth it,” she said.
Mikayla Hoffman / Courtesy of Nasty Women Art Month
Nasty Women Art Month – Schedule of events
All April – Art at Stage 18
6-9 p.m. April 6 – First Thursday events at Stage 18 and Local Color
7 p.m. April 8 – Panel discussion with Nasty Women New York organizers Jessamyn Fiore and Victoria Keddie at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville
7-11 p.m. April 14 – Small works show at Backspace with music by Allison William and Rachel Reynolds
4 p.m. to late April 15 – Small works show at Backspace with music by Witchsister, Ten High and Spirit Cuntz
7-11 p.m. April 21 – Installation-based art and music experience at Lala Land
7 p.m. April 22 – Nasty Women Comedy Night at Stage 18
8 p.m.-midnight April 27 – Mess Hall and Rodeo Book Club comedy show at Backspace
7-10 p.m. April 29 – Performance night and closing reception at Stage 18