OWN | Courtesy Photo

At Cal Poly’s Original Women’s Narratives (OWN), the experience of womanhood is expressed through various mediums. This year, the team behind OWN will expand their art gallery in size and in art forms.

OWN’s Art Gallery Coordinator and history senior Emily Scates said this year’s gallery will occupy a full room instead of half of a room. For this reason, the deadline to submit art for the gallery is the end of December.

Scates said the actual artwork doesn’t have to be submitted by then, but she would like to know the idea of the artwork to map out what the gallery will look like.

Scates also explained what guests should expect from attending OWN.

“When you go to OWN, you’re going to see monologues [and] skits, all produced and written by Cal Poly women,” Scates said. “There’s also the art gallery. The goal is to be as inclusive and as progressive as possible.”

Agricultural business sophomore Beth Funke also plays a role in organizing the art gallery. She hopes this year’s gallery will showcase different forms of art instead of just paintings.

“This year, we want to expand it and see if more students are willing to enter different types of forms, like poems or sculptures, and different kinds of art just to expand it and have a large variety,” Funke said. “We’re asking a main question of, ‘What does it mean to you to be a woman?’ and ‘What empowers you as a woman?’ so we want the art to reflect that kind of a prompt but they can interpret it however they want.”

Funke submitted an art piece to the previous gallery before getting involved in the planning process.

“My piece was called ‘Rise,’” Funke said. “I was inspired by the women in my life who helped build me up and supported me. I feel that society can sometimes pit women against each other and that women need to support and empower other women rather than criticize. It included a variety of hands in all sizes and bright colors all coming together with a quote from Maya Angelou, ‘Still I rise,’ to represent that a woman’s voice cannot be silenced, especially when she is supported by other women and her peers.”

Theater senior Austine De Los Santos is one of the co-directors of OWN. After being part of the performance last year, she was inspired by the process. De Los Santos said the various expressions of art will add to the overall experience of attending OWN.

“The purpose of the art gallery, along with the performance, is to explore other forms of expression for different intersecting identities and experiences of womanhood,” De Los Santos said. “Our pieces are interactive and are meant to educate, empower, as well as to share the stories of their respective artist.”

Scates hopes guests who attend the art gallery are able to connect with its message.

“The theme of the art gallery is, in general, women’s empowerment and how women are perceived in society,” Scates said. “For people who come for their classes or for a school project or for credit, we’re hoping that we’ll just introduce them to the concept of gender equity and thinking of women in a different way.”

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