USF Students and faculty gathered this weekend for an educational art show focusing on different social issues, especially those facing women.
The USF Women’s Studies Department held the first ever Art Crawl in the basement of the Faculty Office Building (FAO) on Friday.
Graduate students Kelly Wagner and Sally Gage, said they helped coordinate the event to get more students and campus visitors interested in the department.
“(The) main theme of this event was that we wanted to see (the artists’) passion, see what means a lot to them and not make it an art contest,” Gage said.
Both girls also had art displayed: Wagner had handmade jewelry and Gage exhibited her watercolor paintings. Creating art is a way they express themselves, Gage said.
Anyone was allowed to have his or her art displayed, and many different mediums were used, such as photography, watercolors and acrylic. The pieces dealt with issues from environment, equality in social class and different cultures. There was even a display in Spanish. “(This is) the first year that we’ve had this (event) happen,” Gage said. “We really wanted the undergraduate and graduate students to get to know each other. It would be breaking the ice, especially with the use of art.”
Several different groups sponsored the event, including the Feminist Student Alliance (FSA) and Triota (Iota Iota Iota), an honor society for women’s studies that provides scholarships and grants to students in the department.
The department is over 30 years old, according to its Web site: womens-studies.usf.edu. In 1987, USF became Florida’s first public university to offer a B.A. in women’s studies. By 1991, the program had grown to include a full-time faculty of eight.
Along one of the walls of the department, located in the FAO building, a large piece of white paper can be found with various names and drawings. Wagner said the intent is to get people to sign it and let others know you visited.
“Why don’t we have anybody doing this? … It snowballed into talking about Art Crawl No. 2,” Gage said. “We’re hoping to get more (people) involved and do something with tattoos next year.”
Mike Gipson, adjunct professor in the department, said women’s studies allows him the flexibility to branch out into other fields.
“(I got my) undergraduate in psychology and master’s in women’s studies. I actually picked up my master’s because it allows me flexibility within the department,” he said.
He hopes his time at USF will allow people to talk more openly about masculinity and sexual
The department offers graduate degrees, an undergraduate major and minor and a concentration in women of color studies.
The department hopes to bring more attention to this mission with future art crawls. Some of the pieces from the Friday event that were also used in the Broadway show “Vagina Monologues” will be up for auction Nov. 21.
“Young people are making bad decisions, and education helps,” Gipson said.
For more information on women’s studies, students can visit womens-studies.usf.edu.