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Zimmerli's recent SparkNight event to go down in Herstory

Attendees of the Zimmerli Art Museum's SparkNight: Women's History Month event were invited to express themselves by painting on fabric. – Photo by Yassmin Elmouzaieg

On March 7, the Zimmerli Art Museum hosted a Women's History Month event as a part of its SparkNight series. This unique public gathering showcased the potent blend of art and activism by highlighting women artists and performers.

The evening began with renowned artist Gluklya presenting several of her pieces, each one a testament to her commitment to activism. 

Audience members were then engaged in a thought-provoking exercise: distinguishing between real and made-up quotes within her works. The phrases explored common themes of her work: resistance and liberation.

Attendees then channeled the movements they resonated with into art. Embracing the spirit of expression, participants took to painting and writing on shirts, transforming plain cloth into bold statements from their respective beliefs. The room buzzed as colors and symbols began to take shape, each piece a personal declaration.

Statements on the fabric ranged from "My Religion is Not a Joke" to "Free Hong Kong Revolution," "Unpaid Labor is Theft," "Free Palestine" and "Abortion is Health Care." The event fostered a strong sense of community and solidarity among participants.

Gluklya's lecture and work with textiles, featured in the exhibit, "The Body Implied: The Vanishing Figure in Soviet Art," served as sources of inspiration for the artistic attendees. Aside from teaching participants how to paint, the workshop revealed the immense potential within each person to contribute to ongoing dialogues about justice, freedom and quality.

Other activities included a tour of "The Body Implied" with Stephanie Dvareckas, a Dodge Avenir Fellow and Rutgers Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History. Attendees were also treated to the musical stylings of Rutgers acapella groups Deep Treble and RU Shockwave, the latter being an all-women group.

Attendees were also encouraged to explore the recently opened exhibit, "Michelle V. Agins: Storyteller," which features the work of the second Black woman to be hired as a photographer by The New York Times. The trailblazing photojournalist will be visiting the museum next month.

As the night drew to a close, participants left the event not just with their artworks but with a renewed sense of purpose and empowerment. 

The next installment in the SparkNight series, "GAYpril," will occur on April 4 and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community here at Rutgers.

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