The Dennos Museum, located at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, is celebrating women in a big way this fall, in exhibitions, concerts and programs at the that run throughout the fall. Here’s a look at the outstanding exhibits that will be offered.

One Woman’s Creative Journey: Anita Luvera Mayer

September 19, 2010 to January 2, 2011.

Inspired by ethnic & historic garments, Anita Mayer designs original clothing in her Anacortes studio, infusing the work with her creative spirit. She believes there should be something magical & unique in what we wear each day & she wants to share this concept of clothing with others.

Mayer says of the work in this show: This exhibition presents the role and situation of women in the contemporary world through the fiber arts. The garments speak to my personal experiences regarding growing older, marriage, death, and other markers of whom we become during life’s journey. We live in a youth-oriented society and I want to share and celebrate the joys of self-discovery that come with age.  I was to embrace the years we have lived because I believe that gray hair, lines on the face and gnarled hands signify that a woman has had a full and challenging life and with the years gains knowledge and wisdom…These garments are my tribute to women of the world who need to be recognized and respected.

Anita Luvera Mayer is an internationally recognized weaver and versatile fiber artist, designer and author. She was first introduced to weaving in 1955 when her mother-in-law gave her a floor loom as a wedding gift. Her focus on weaving contemporary garments began in 1972 and she has focused the last 10 years of her work about women’s stories. Although she still weaves, her creative fiber work has evolved to include many types of innovative surface design techniques as well as incredible beadwork, embroidery, freeform knitting and crochet.

Mayer will present a lecture on her work on Thursday, September 23, 2010, 7:00 pm at the Dennos Museum Center. She will offer a workshop called Mud Pies for Adults with Anita Mayer on Thursday and Friday, September 23 – 24, 2010, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm. This workshop is for anyone who likes to play but wants limited rules. Participants will complete a reference art journal as they make fabric and paper samples using paper, resists, fabric crayons, paint sticks, marbled tissue, burned felt, stamping, and more. Cost: $90 Museum Member, $100 non-members, due when registering. Material Fee: $40 due to instructor the day of the class. To Register: (231) 995-1029, payment due upon registration.

Stitching Stories of Miracles and Memories

September 19, 2010 to January 2, 2011

Organized and curated by Rebecca Berru Davis, a doctoral student at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California, Stitching Stories is an exhibition that features embroidered and appliquéd fabric pictures called cuadros, created by the women of two art cooperatives, Manos Anchashinas and Compacto Humano, located in Pamplona Alta, a shantytown situated on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. Featured in this exhibition are cuadros representing typical themes produced by the women, as well as a special commissioned project called Miracles and Memories. 

For the women artists, the cuadros serve a variety of purposes. Making and selling the art is an important economic enterprise that provides them with a way to support their families. Cuadros are also an avenue of self-expression, a means to demonstrate artistic skill, and a tangible way to create visual narratives of previous life in the countryside, experiences of migration, and current realities in the shantytowns.  Whether the subjects are pastoral or political in nature, women depict themselves as integral members of their families and important participants in the events that shape their communities. With bits of cloth, textured fabric, and colored thread, the women of Pamplona Alta stitch together stories that underscore transitions in their lives, illuminate episodes of generosity in a Peruvian shantytown and in doing so make us attentive to the deeper meanings of joy and abundance.

In association with the exhibition Rebecca Davis, curator of Stitching Stories of Miracles and Memories, and Barbara Cervenka, co-director of ConVida, will offer a presentation about the exhibition on Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm. ConVida, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting understanding for the diverse cultures, traditions, and history of the Americas expressed through popular art, produced the exhibition. There will also be a demonstration of creating Cuadros by two Peruvian artists: Julia Linan Retuerto and her daughter Veronica Principe Linan from the artist cooperative at Pamplona Alta.

Celebrating Women

September 19, 2010 to January 2, 2011

Celebrating Women features the photography of photo-journalist Paola Gianturco and documents festivals that honor women’s roles, rites of passage, attributes, accomplishments and spiritual lives.  Forty-two of Gianturco’s most vibrant color images of parades, parties, feasts, ceremonies and competitions comprise this surprising exhibition.  Different cultures honor women for completely different attributes: as athletes, goddesses, providers, warriors, mothers, flirts – and more.

The exhibit includes images from these celebrations:•    Swaziland’s Reed Dance celebrates women as virgins
•    Poland’s Noc Šwietoja?sk Festival celebrates women as magical
•    India’s Kali Puja celebrates women as warriors
•    Sweden’s Festival of Sankta Lucia celebrates women as kind
•    Brazil’s Festival of Boa Morte celebrates women as political•    Morocco’s Marriage Festival celebrates women as initiators

The exhibition has been shown at the Women’s Museum in San Francisco, the Field Museum in Chicago and UNESCO in Paris prior to its showing at the Dennos.

Paola Gianturco’s involvement with women internationally is long standing: as a photojournalist, she has documented women’s lives in 40 countries. She was Chairman of the Board of The Crafts Center in Washington DC, which works with low income artisans in 79 countries, and was a board member of the Associate for Women’s Rights in Development. She co-developed and taught Summer Executive Institutes on Women and Leadership for Stanford University’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, and Mills College.  She sits on the Board of International Nature and Cultural Adventures.  Before becoming a full-time photographer, she spent 34 years in marketing and communications.

More Women in Exhibition Events

In conjunction with these exhibitions, the Museum education department has organized a series of lectures, workshops, and other events that can be found at exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs which includes funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition and related programs do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Michigan Humanities Council. Programming for One Woman’s Creative Journey: Anita Luvera Mayer is supported in part by the Northland Weavers Guild. Media support by TV 7&4 and Northern Express.

The Dennos Museum Center is open Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM, Thursday until 8 PM and Sundays 1-5 PM. Admission is $6.00 adults, $4.00 for children and free to museum members. For more information on the Museum and exhibition, go to or call 231-995-1055. The Dennos Museum Center is located at 1701 East Front Street, Traverse City, MI 49686, at the entrance to the campus of Northwestern Michigan College.

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