Tran Library Exhibit Showcases Women’s Art

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Organizations from across campus prepares Tran Library art exhibit celebrating women’s diversity

March is Women’s History Month, and to celebrate, through April 22, Pacific University is hosting an art exhibit in Tran Library to showcase women-produced art. The art exhibit will have a formal opening March 1 at 3 pm, and is being run by German professor Lorely French and Director of the Student Multicultural Center Jean Garcia-Chitwood.

   “The point is to show the diversity of women,” French explained. “I know we’re in times where we are trying to think ‘non-binarily,’ but I still think it’s important. There’s a lot of issues that affect women in particular, men in particular, and non-binary people in particular.” 

   Some of the exhibits that will be presented in Tran Library include those from students and professors, and present in a variety of art mediums. Philosophy professor Ramona Ilea, for example, is displaying a 30-inch tall steel sculpture of a human bust entitled “Illumination,” which she made when a sophomore in college. Additionally, Ashley Michelle Fowler, a current Doctorate student in education and leadership, is displaying a photo of a mixed medium collage called “Healing Toward Liberation,” which, according to the piece’s description, was created as a “reminder of the inherent freedom that exists within each of our bodies” and uses a variety of themes for that purpose, including health, finance, nature, and diversity. 

   The overall art market is disproportionate skewed, with roughly 9 out of 10 professional artists male; specifically, women-created art comprised just 14 percent of art exhibits surveyed in the U.S. from 2008-2018. Moreover, a recent 2022 study provided further insights into how gender biases favor men. More than a representative 1,000 Americans were presented art work without the artists’ genders revealed. When surveyed, the results showed no preference for either male or female paintings when they didn’t know who painted it. However, when they did know who painted it, respondents assumed that the paintings of men were more valuable than those of women. 

    The exhibit is the result of a collaboration between many clubs and organizations on campus, including the Alumni Office, the Student Multicultural Center, and the International Studies Club. These groups will be hosting other events for Women’s History Month, including a “International Women’s March” on March 7, which begins with a singer at 3 pm and progresses to a march through Forest Grove’s Main Street shopping district of town, and ends with talks from a few guest speakers.


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