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K-State's Beach Museum of Art offers 'Life Passages' exhibit

By Jenna Heilman

 

Kansas State University's department of apparel, textiles and interior design, women's studies program and the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art are collaborating on the interdisciplinary exhibition, "Life Passages: Women, Dress and Culture."

The exhibition, from March 1 to June 6, features the work of Anita Luvera Mayer, an internationally known artist and weaver. Mayer donated a collection of her work, "Mantles for Women: Rites of Passage," to K-State's Historic Costume and Textile Museum.

The themes of the exhibition correspond with the themes of Mayer's mantles: "Metamorphosis: Celebration of Life and Death," "Menses," "Marriage," "Motherhood," "Menopause" and "Matriarchal Crone."

In addition to the mantles, the exhibition will include historic costumes, related apparel items, quilts and ethnic materials from the Historic Costume and Textiles Museum.

"The concept evolved while I was creating 'Metamorphosis,' a protective cloak completed following my father's death," Mayer wrote. "I began to understand and accept the cycle of life and death. I wonder about the other transition points in a woman's life and what I saw as my spiritual right of passage. These mantles are my answer. They are my celebration of life, of being a woman, of being an artist."

In conjunction with the exhibition, the department of apparel, textiles and interior design will sponsor a series of lectures by noted scholars from across the United States, as well as publish an exhibition catalog featuring an essay by Mayer, photos of objects from the exhibition and articles by the lecturers.

The Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art also will sponsor a series of performances and lectures, "Shared Stories: A Performance of Series on the Lives of Women," funded through a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association. In addition, faculty from the women's studies program are integrating the collection into their spring 2004 courses, including a topics course called "Rites of Passage," which contrasts Mayer's expression of the transitions of American women with the transitions of women in other cultures.

Several public events are also scheduled with the exhibition and special children's tours are being planned for Girl Scout troops, Big Sisters, 4-H and extension groups and other organizations interested in girls in history and other cultures.

Public events, all free unless otherwise noted, scheduled with the "Life Passages" exhibition include:

* Monday, March 1, a lecture by the exhibition's featured artist, Anita Mayer, at 12:30 p.m. in 109 Justin Hall. The presentation is supported by the Kansas Humanities Council.

* Thursday, March 4, "Everywoman," a performance by Elizabeth Ellis, a storyteller, at 7 p.m. in the Beach Museum of Art's UMB Theatre. The performance will feature true stories that draw upon the courage of wisdom of women in every part of their lives. It is sponsored by the Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art and supported by a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association.

* Saturday, March 6, Children's Arts and Crafts Sampler, 1:30-3:30 p.m., in the UMB Theatre. Participants will make ethnic toys and crafts related to childhood. The event costs $5, which covers all supplies.

* Tuesday, March 9, "Writing as a Safe Place for Emotions Workshop" with Monica Gomez, a singer/songwriter, from 10 a.m. to noon in the UMB Theatre. Reservations are required to attend and can be made by calling 785-532-7718. The workshop is sponsored by the Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art and a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association. Gomez also will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. in the UMB Theatre. The concert will include an exploration of femininity through the ancient art of tai chi and is sponsored by a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association.

* Sunday, March 14, "Sharing Treasures Around the World," an open house for the "Life Passages" exhibition from 2-4 p.m. at the Beach Museum. The event, which will feature an international display of objects related to women, is sponsored by the Gamma Lambda chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, a leadership and service organization. Refreshments and door prizes will be available.

* Tuesday, March 16, "Strong Women," a storytelling performance by Linda Gorham, at 7 p.m. in the UMB Theatre. The performance is sponsored by the Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art and a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association.

* Wednesday, March 31, Jane Farrell-Beck, a costume historian at Iowa State University, will present "Ending a Hygienic Hazard With Disposable Menstrual Protection, 1850-1940" at 12:30 p.m. in 109 Justin Hall. The presentation is supported by the Kansas Humanities Council.

* Thursday, April 8, "Hey, Good Looking: American Fashion and Beauty," a lecture by Sara Tucker, at 7 p.m. in the UMB Theatre. The lecture will highlight trends of feminine fashion and reflects upon the impact of style. It is sponsored by the Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art and a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association.

* Tuesday, April 13, Mary Louise Defender, a storyteller, will present ancestral stories from her Dakotah/Hidatsa Native American heritage. The event will be at 7 p.m. in the UMB Theatre and is sponsored by the Student Friends of the Beach Museum of Art, the K-State Native American Student Association and a diversity grant from the K-State Student Governing Association.

* Wednesday, April 21, Joanne Eicher, a professor at the University of Minnesota, will present a lecture on African rites of passage in the Kalabari tribe of Nigeria. The lecture starts at 12:30 p.m. in 109 Justin Hall and is supported by the Kansas Humanities Council.

* Saturday, June 5, "Fiber Finale," a final celebration from 1-5 p.m. at the museum featuring demonstrations and interactive activities with area guilds and crafts people, including the Manhattan Area Weavers and Spinners, lace makers, rug hookers and quilters.

The Beach Museum of Art is on the southeast corner of the K-State campus at 701 Beach Lane. Admission is free and complimentary visitor parking is available adjacent to the facility. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Spring 2004