October 31, 2007

Art auction will benefit The Women's Center

by Andrea Hahn


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Surplus Gallery at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will help The Women's Center, Inc. celebrate its 35th anniversary with a silent auction of art beginning at 6 p.m. on Nov. 9 and by providing space for an exhibition from the center's Art for Empowerment program.

Matthew Schultz, a graduate student in art and the director of the School of Art and Design's Surplus Gallery, said he teamed up with The Women's Center because of his conviction that the Art for Empowerment program and the work of The Women's Center are thoroughly just causes. He said that, as the director of a gallery, he has the same opportunity he has as an artist – to use the power of art to make a statement and perhaps to change perspectives.

"There are a myriad of reasons people create art," he said. "Maybe part of it is to show a new point of view or to draw attention to an issue. Art for Empowerment is art therapy. We have shows at the Surplus Gallery all the time, and we are trying to reach out to the community. Some artists just want to show their work, others want to sell it. In this case, there is no better cause out there than donating art to help support what The Women's Center is doing."

Schultz said he worked with Edie Overturf, an SIUC School of Art and Design alumna who volunteers at The Women's Center, to set up the exhibit. The idea for an auction, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Women's Center, was born from discussions about the exhibit. The exhibit opens Nov. 5 and runs through Nov. 10. The Nov. 9 auction is the actual date of the 35th anniversary.

Camille Dorris, executive director of The Women's Center, said the Art for Empowerment program began in 2004 with the help of Elka Kazmierczak, now a visiting assistant professor at SIUC and an instructor at John A. Logan College, as a way for clients to express themselves without words. She said the process of creating art often helps women who have survived abusive situations to explore and heal from the emotional trauma they have endured. The center runs art workshops every other week.

For more information about Art for Empowerment, visit The Women's Center, Inc. Web site at www.thewomensctr.org and follow the link to "art gallery." Information about the history of The Women's Center and its current projects is available at the Surplus Gallery on Nov. 9.


Art for Empowerment exhibit – This string painting is made with a string dipped in India ink with pastels or other colors added later. The artist is a 16-year-old survivor of a sexual crime. Her description of this painting states: "My art reflects the way I feel in the sense that it is wild, uncontrollable. My life spirals out of my controlling hands, and I can only watch while it all unravels. People say that my eyes reveal my troubles and worries, but my art does much more than that – it reveals my soul. My mind goes in a million different directions, as does this string dipped in ink."

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