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Submissions to Women's Day Art Show 'impressive as always'

Theme of this year's exhibit in Orillia, opening Feb. 8, is On the Edge

From paintings and photography to sculptures and stained glass, the 24th annual International Women’s Day Art Show has it all.

The exhibition will open at the Orillia Museum of Art and History on Feb. 8 and stay up until April 12.

This year’s theme is On the Edge.

“On the Edge can mean a lot of things,” said exhibit co-ordinator Juliana Hawke. “We felt that with the political climate and the environment, the theme might spark some commentary on that.”

She was right. Some of the 128 pieces that have been submitted for the show get the message across overtly, while others are more subtle. Visitors don’t have to be art interpretation pros, though. As is the case every year with this exhibit, the artists include a written description to accompany their work.

“Usually, art is interpreted any way you want, but we’re asking the artists to open up,” Hawke said.

The descriptions have been part of the show since its first year. It made sense, as the theme then was Women’s Stories, and the practice stuck.

“We’ve found it’s powerful to the visitor,” Hawke said. “The show is about what women have to say.”

After more than two decades, it’s still important to have an exhibit that focuses only on women’s art, she added.

“When we started this show, there wasn’t anything like it. Traditionally, women’s artwork has not been taken as seriously,” Hawke said, adding women are still underrepresented in galleries.

Hawke and her team have been busy putting the show together. It’s always a challenge — a positive one, she noted — to decide where to place so many pieces that were created by artists of all skill levels.

“We’re very particular about where we place the pieces,” she said, adding the work that has been submitted this year is “impressive as always.”

The show features work from artists 16 and older.

An opening reception will take place Feb. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the museum.