Collaborative art exhibit aims to unite women against hate

Three artists connect activists across the state

An art exhibit aimed at uniting women against bigotry, intolerance and racism is now in Madison but intended to travel throughout Wisconsin, gaining collaborators along the way.

Artists Kelly Parks Snider, J. Leigh Garcia and Rachael Griffin collaborated to create the traveling art exhibition, “Women Against Hate, United by Love,” on display now through July 7 in the Playhouse Gallery at the Overture Center for the Arts.

The three artists together created portraits of diverse female-identifying activists across Wisconsin. Each woman is depicted with a halo of inspirational phrases that allude to their work or life story.

Because all three artists worked on every piece, Snider says she isn’t sure which of them did what on the portraits. That was intentional.

“This wasn’t going to be about us. The focus was always going to remain on the women,” Snider says.

The idea, she says, was to connect women of multiple marginalized identities working towards similar goals of equity and representation.

“‘Women Against Hate, United by Love’ is a collective of women artists who are working in a coordinated effort to dismantle hate rhetoric and oppressive systems that affect all of us,” Snider says. “We are undocumented women. We are women who are refugees. We are sex workers. We are women of various faiths. We are women of no faith. We are women of color. We are white women. You name it.” Collaborative art exhibit aims to unite women against hate

After its stay in the Playhouse Gallery, the exhibition will continue to educate and inspire communities as it travels Wisconsin. In each community, local organizations will be asked to add content, stories and artwork to the exhibit.

Snider says she hopes the art inspires audiences to disrupt the pattern of working in solitary. By working together in a coordinated effort, marginalized individual women can see their work have tangible results more quickly, Snider says.

“Our goal is to connect all of these women and their partners and their organizations so that we have a powerful voice that’s louder as we grow this project will become bigger and bigger and bigger,” Snider says.

The opening reception for “Women Against Hate, United by Love” on June 5 kicked off the 2019 LunART Festival, a celebration of women in the arts featuring galleries, concerts, recitals, poetry readings and master classes around Madison.

Iva Ugrčić ​​​​​​, founder and director of the LunART Festival, says she met Snider at a dinner party last year just before the launch of 2018’s LunART Festival. Snider was invited to host a pop-up exhibition of “Hidden in Plain Sight,” a series highlighting the discord of power, privilege, inequality and injustice and a panel about artists connecting and collaborating.

Snider says art activism is most effective when it accompanies people mobilizing around a cause.

“This [exhibit] is about bringing women together and talking about what needs to get done and how we can connect together. That’s what it’s about, super simple,” Snider says.

The Playhouse Gallery at Overture is free and open to the public 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 5:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Claire VanValkenburg is an editorial intern at Madison Magazine.