By Jillian Amodio
What defines a woman? A new pop-up art exhibit aims to capture the concept of a woman as a multifaceted artfully designed and intricate masterpiece, much like a kaleidoscope.
The Kaleidoscope exhibit at the Annapolis Town Center shines a spotlight on the power, creativity, and potential of women past and present with a specific focus on women in the Annapolis area.
Curated by the founders of quarterly publication Our Rhythm Our Blues Darin Gilliam and Erica Nicole, this exhibit highlights the strength, determination, and potential of women or “womxn,” an alternative spelling some favor as more inclusive than the traditional word.
Gilliam and Nicole have been friends for nearly a decade and originally launched Our Rhythm Our Blues as a foundation of storytelling for women of color and other marginalized populations. “It wasn’t really until social media that it became common to hear the stories and the traumas that people have experienced from them personally,” Gilliam says. “We received so many stories, poems, and art submissions from people who really needed a space to recount their traumas and their triumphs. We knew we were onto something and for Women’s History Month we wanted to put out a call to action and share the stories of influential women in a meaningful and immersive way.”
The exhibit is designed in a way that feels somber and reflective, yet inspiring and empowering. The gallery display tells the stories of brave women daring to be vulnerable. On one wall of the exhibit, there is stunning photography of Annapolis business owners and managers who help keep the Annapolis Town Center thriving. Visitors then follow a path from this space of inspiration to a hallway of flowers. Next, guests are invited to stand on a platform before their own reflection, reading words of affirmation.
The exhibit includes photography and installation by Alison Harbaugh of ArtFarm and Sugar Farm productions, flower installation by Kirby Jay of iKamCreate, and support from Anthony Henry, General Manager of Annapolis Town Center.
In addition to the stories, historical depictions, and female-created artwork, the museum also hosts numerous events in the space, sponsored by women-owned businesses. Recent events included a burlesque sketch night, photography sessions, and candle making workshops.
Gilliam wants all visitors, not just women to immerse themselves in the exhibit. “I want them to spend time with the pieces. I want them to read the stories on the wall and experience the pieces that further their storylines. I want them to be inspired to become part of the progress that these women have paved the way for.”
The exhibit runs through May 9, and is open Sunday noon-6pm and Wed-Sat noon-7pm. The space is also available to rent for private events. Details at www.visitatcexhibit.com.