(Posted April 3, 2013)

The month of April commemorates Women's History and at Juniata Health and Wellness is sponsoring an art contest featuring famous women in history.

The month of April commemorates Women's History and at Juniata Health and Wellness is sponsoring an art contest featuring famous women in history.

Juniata's Health and Wellness Center has organized an art contest in honor of Women's Month, which is to be concluded this week. Students were asked to draw or paint a portrait of any great women in history or replicate a piece of work done by a famous woman artist. Ellen Swanson, a senior and a Juniata Health and Wellness intern, played a large role in coordinating the contest. She shares her opinion about the importance of such a contest and Women's Month.

Q: How has such a contest aimed to promote Women's Month?

A: To raise awareness for Women's Month, the Health and Wellness Center designed an art contest that would help promote women and acknowledge their efforts in history. The idea of the contest was for students to create a piece of artwork that was in some form associated with women. Students were able to replicate a piece of artwork previously illustrated by a famous female artist or they could have chosen to create a portrait of a famous historical woman.

Q: Can you briefly describe some of your favorite pieces that were submitted?

A: We had four pieces of artwork that were submitted, and all of them were very different. They are individually unique, and it would be impossible for me to choose a favorite piece. We had one student recreate a series of artworks previously done by Beatrix Potter and another who painted a portrait of his girlfriend. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the artwork that was submitted.

Q: Do you think there is an adequate recognition of the importance or necessity of Women's Month in today's society?

A: Though women have long fought for equality and historically have gained significant improvements in their battle, many people in today's world still view women as inferior to men. In many cases around the world, women still have to fight for the same rights as men do. I'm not trying to downplay the obstacles that women in general have fought and overcome, but to me the recognition of the importance of women in today's society and their history is inadequate.

Q: What kind of role have women played in art?

A: Though some might argue in opposition, it is my opinion that women have played a vastly important role in art throughout history. Though a majority of most renowned artists are male, historically women have been depicted in all forms of artwork. They have long been a desired subject for artists. That's not to say that there aren't any incredible female artists. One of my all-time favorite artists is Georgia O'Keefe, who was best known for her representations of the beauty of the American landscape.

Q: How has art acted as a source of empowerment for women?

A: The acknowledgment and appreciation of women can be represented through art and could ultimately help educate the public about the importance of their role in society. The biggest characteristic of women's empowerment in art is how the artists present women in their work and how the public interprets the piece.

Melissa Famularo '13, Juniata Online Journalist

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Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.