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  • Writer's pictureThis Is Rutherford

Women's History Month First Annual Art Celebration

Updated: Mar 23, 2021

By Jennifer Ersalesi

To celebrate Women’s History Month, the Rutherford Arts Council (RAC) and the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission (RCRC) have organized their First Annual Art Celebration. Rutherford artists of all ages have been asked to submit portraits of women who have used their unique talents to change the course of history. This is Rutherford spoke to the chairperson of this event, Ginny Perrin, to learn more about this project.

TIR: How long have you been a part of the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission?

Ginny Perrin: This is my second month!

TIR: Why did you decide to join the Rutherford Civil Rights Commission?

GP: The Commission embodies my belief system. Although not a Quaker, I have been involved in Quaker education since college and I have found that Quaker values have strengthened and guided my personal beliefs that I try to live by every day. I have been committed to and advocating for equality of all people, peace and social justice, and building a strong sense of community throughout my adult life, and have been active in volunteer organizations that are built on these same beliefs. After attending an MLK Jr. Celebration hosted by the Civil Rights Commission a little over a year ago at the Mt. Ararat Church, I began to gather more information about the Commission's history and decided I wanted to find a way to become more involved. I felt that being a part of the Commission would allow me to serve in an organization that was created to protect and support all in which I believe and strive for, in the town I call home. At first, it was just a wish as I did not know how someone went about being appointed. I was thrilled when the application process for the commission and other town committees was shared on social media last fall. With the greatest of gratitude, after applying and being interviewed by council members, I was selected as one of the new appointees.

TIR: Where did the idea for The First Annual Rutherford Women’s History Month Art Celebration come from?

GP: The idea came from the wonderful artwork of Karen Hallion who created the "She Series" posters. In these, she does profile portraits of powerful women in our history and current society. Along with the image of each woman, she includes a noun or verb that captures how she envisions these women and/or their actions. As we thought about how to celebrate and acknowledge Women's History Month this year, we focused on this year's International Women's Day theme of women who challenge the norm in all of our work. Art speaks to people. It allows the artist to evoke feelings and convey messages that words may not. The beauty of art is that you can look at it a hundred times and each time notice something new or be drawn to something that speaks to you over and over. We envisioned an eclectic collection of art from a wide span of ages, abilities, and perspectives coming together in a cohesive focus.

TIR: A pop-up gallery and online gallery will be created to display the submitted artwork. Can you describe what the artwork should include?

GP: The art should be a portrait of a woman who challenged the norms-any medium and style with 1) the name of the woman depicted and 2) an adjective to describe her somewhere prominently in the art. 2-dimensional art should be a minimum of 8"x10" and no larger than 24" x 36"- framed if possible. However, we do not want someone to feel that they cannot contribute because they are unable to provide a frame. Please reach out to me at 3-dimensional art will also be included as long as it is small enough for tabletop display. All art should be family-friendly.

TIR: The new Rutherford Coffee Company will be allowing the RCRC and RAC to display submitted works in their beautiful new space. How did that partnership happen?

GP: Part of the Commission's focus is building connections and partnerships within our community. When the Rutherford Coffee Company first opened, they had shared that they wanted to create an art gallery in their space that featured local artists. We reached out to them in the early stages of the project plans to see if they would be interested in being the location to showcase our event. They were more than happy to partner! Given that this is the first year and we have no idea the number of works that will be submitted, the owners have been completely open to all possibilities of submissions and supportive in making our "Pop Up Gallery" a reality. We thank them for their flexibility and willingness to support this project.

TIR: What are both the RCRC and the RAC hoping this project will accomplish?

GP: Art is for everyone and we want to create an annual opportunity to connect all our community members in a positive way while focusing on the achievements of women who have inspired us and contributed to the greater good of society as a whole. With the pandemic isolating so many, even when living in the same community, being able to celebrate in a meaningful way is not always easy. Our hope is that with this project, Rutherford residents can both celebrate women's accomplishments and share in an experience that brings us together yet allows for people to participate in whatever way feels comfortable-in person and/or virtually. We hope that this will continue to grow over the years to bring together more art, more sharing and dialogue, and increased partnerships and collaborations in town.

This is for all residents-those who want to allow their inner artist to shine, those who are artists by profession, and everyone in between.

Please reach out to Ginny Perrin at with any questions and details regarding the drop-off of artwork.

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