Celebrating the women behind the art

Rebeca Ortiz, Sidney Lazarus and Meghan Gable pose for a picture in the photo gallery room at the Thomas Lounge. (Courtesy of Sonia El Boury/Ryersonian Staff)

Rebeca Ortiz, Sidney Lazarus and Meghan Gable pose for a picture in the photo gallery room at the Thomas Lounge. (Courtesy of Sonia El Boury/Ryersonian Staff)

In the male-dominated world of film, some students at Ryerson saw the need for a “support system” for women in the industry.

Enter the Ryerson Alliance of Women Filmmakers, a group that created the university’s first-ever celebration of female artists on campus called Women in Art.

“Women are part of a marginalized group overall. Even though there are talented female artists, they are underappreciated to men,” said Sidney Lazarus, a member of the alliance.

Women in Art represents women both behind and in front of the camera. Last year, the inaugural event had 50 guests, but it doubled in size this time around in the Thomas Lounge in Oakham House on March 18.

Upon entrance, guests were exposed to digital artwork on the walls, live poetry, music and projections of short films — all created by women.

“Tonight is an opportunity to specifically give opportunities for women to showcase their art in an open space,” said Rebeca Ortiz, president of the image arts course union. Ortiz is part of the Ryerson Alliance of Women Filmmakers, and is responsible for bringing the organizations together for the event.

All students were encouraged to come celebrate women's art. (Courtesy of Sonia El Boury / Ryersonian Staff)

All students were encouraged to come celebrate women’s art. (Courtesy of Sonia El Boury / Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson Image Arts Union teamed with the Ryerson Alliance of Women Filmmakers, Musicians@Ryerson, Poetics Exchange and the Ryerson Students’ Union to celebrate Women in Art. The night included live musical performances by Ariel Matheson, Charlotte Fabro and The Lifers.

The event was open to both men and women.

“There’s a good diversity of people here,” said Abby Klages, a fourth-year photography student. “I like that a lot of males decided to show up.”

Ortiz said she is happy with this year’s turnout.

“Year by year we want to make it bigger,” she said.

The Women in Art organizers said they wanted guests to take away how important it is to have a creative space and an appreciation for women’s art, both on- and off-campus.

“It’s not necessarily about the content, it’s about the exposure,” says Ortiz. “It doesn’t have be a work of art that is about feminism. It could be about feminism or it could be about women’s issues, but it doesn’t have to be — it’s a celebration.”

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