Convergence: Work by Canadian and U.S. Women Artists

October 17 through November 30, 2005
Lawrence, Kansas

“Convergence” is an international art event including work by 18 women artists, 9 from Lawrence, Kansas, and 9 from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is the second half of an international art exchange. The first phase took place in May 2002, when F.A.N. Club artists were selected for “Common Ground”, a joint exhibition with 8 Canadian women artists in Canada’s national capital. “Convergence” includes art exhibitions along with community participation through workshops, panel discussions, a public installation and public lectures.

Project History

In 2001, the artists of The F.A.N. Club from the Lawrence area began a dialogue with a group of artists in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, with whom we felt an artistic common ground. The idea emerged to have reciprocal art shows in each of our countries. Through collaboration among a wide range of artists and art administrators, a prestigious and high profile exhibition and series of workshops were held in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada in May and June of 2002. “Common Ground: A Cross-Border Art Exhibition and Workshop Series” was sponsored by the City of Ottawa, the national capitol. The show’s title emphasized the kinship of themes and ideas of participating artists and the commonalities of culture in Canada and the United States of America. Ottawa, a city finely tuned to the appreciation of the arts, not only underwrote a significant portion of the expenses of the show and workshops, but also provided technical assistance and an art administrator to coordinate the rather complicated logistics of mounting “Common Ground”. There were two exhibition locations, the Karsh-Masson Gallery and the New City Hall Art Gallery, where artwork was displayed by 8 Canadian and 10 Lawrence artists. At the elegant reception there was a nationally known speaker, the Right Honorable Herb Gray, former Deputy Prime Minister, speaking about the relationship of the land to art. Bus transportation was provided between the two venues. Workshops by Canadian and U.S. artists were presented to the Ottawa community. A Performance/Installation was presented by Diana Dunkley at the Karsh-Masson Gallery. Brochures, invitations, a show catalogue, articles and reviews publicized the events. Canadian artists opened their homes and studios to provide lodging, dinners, tours and gatherings. Many people, including the curator and publicist, Maureen Korp, graciously donated their time. The creative mix was motivational and inspiring, and many of the relationships that were developed continue to this day.

Project Description

Lawrence is privileged to be the site for the 2005 show and related events. Some of the artists are new since 2001, but the intent remains, which is that F.A.N. Club is organizing a reciprocal U.S. show and providing a forum for an international cultural and creative exchange. F.A.N. Club planned and coordinated the exchange exhibition, titled “Convergence 2005: an international art event featuring work by Canadian and U.S. women artists”. It is held in part at the Lawrence Arts Center from October 17 through November 30, 2005, with a confluence of related shows and events at other locations. The title was developed through dialogue with the Canadian artists, known as The Northern Nine, to emphasize the fact that artistic communities are coming together on many levels. The F.A.N. Club and The Northern Nine found each other across a long distance and an international border. It is our pleasure to show what can happen with such synergy and build upon common ground as artists whose works explore contemporary and cultural issues.

The F.A.N. Club and The Northern Nine present a variety of programs for involving and enriching the Lawrence Community. The Lawrence Arts Center show presents two-dimensional, three-dimensional, performance and installation works by the nine Canadian and nine U.S. artists. The borders of the art show stretch beyond the gallery walls and engage the creative community at large through workshops, presentations, exhibition talks, a “Labyrinth”, and a large collaborative art piece in which artists and members of the community participate. The collaborative performance and installation, "Convergence: Paths & Structures”, is scheduled for the Art and Design Gallery at the University of Kansas, Oct 17-28. Also, Lawrence’s 100 Good Women, a not-for-profit organization, and one of our co-sponsors, has selected Saralyn Reece Hardy, a nationally known woman in the arts for the Women Speak Series being presented concurrently. This event speaks to issues related to women in the arts, and in a way that is meaningful to a culturally diverse audience. F.A.N. Club and 100 Good Women share the objectives of creating a long-term impact on local cultural life, enhancing professional development of 100 Good Women as a cultural organization, and developing artist networks and supporting artists through the project. 100 Good Women and F.A.N. each bring expertise to the other through an exchange of knowledge and experience.

These events and the exhibit at the Arts Center are geared toward engaging many aspects of the community of Lawrence. The scope of “Convergence” strengthens ties of art to the Lawrence community. In a broader sense, healthy ties between international communities are promoted by individuals through collaborative efforts. This solidifies friendship with our neighbors to the north.

Since an important component of the show is to include artists and venues community wide, outreach is crucial to supply information and educational opportunities to local artists and the community at large. Promotional and educational media include brochures, mailings, a speaker’s forum, slide presentations and website, all with free and open access to the public. We include information about art forms such as collaborative and installation art, a calendar of events, links to our sponsoring organizations, backgrounds and philosophies of participating artists.

The F.A.N. Club members are Ann Kuckelman Cobb, Laurie Culling, Diana Dunkley, Jan Gaumnitz, Missy Hamilton, Susan Jordan, Nan Renbarger, Margaret Rose, and Cathy Tisdale.

The Northern Nine artists are Ann Bird, Maggie Glossop, Roberta Huebener, Susan Rennick Jolliffe, Maryse Maynard, Liz Minnes, Chandler Swain, Wendo Van Essen, and Yvonne Wiegers.

Ann Bird Ann Kuckelman Cobb Laurie Culling Diana Dunkley Jan Gaumnitz Maggie Glossop Missy Hamilton Roberta Huebener Susan Rennick Jolliffe Susan Jordan Maryse Maynard Liz Minnes Nan Renbarger Margaret Rose Chandler Swain Cathy Tisdale Wendo Van Essen Yvonne Wiegers

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Site by Colin Tisdale, Laurie Culling, Denise Lajetta, Margaret Rose