Photo by Jill May/The Siskiyou
A living statue poses in front of Janet Kerr's silent auction items during the "Athena in Velvet" celebration.
Chocolate, wine and art.
Women’s creativity was celebrated in the Britt Ballroom for the Women’s Resource Center’s fourth annual "Athena in Velvet" Friday evening.
The purpose of the event was to commemorate women in the arts by enhancing all the guests’ senses. There was fine art to gaze upon, wine to drink and chocolate to eat, fresh flowers to smell and eclectic performances to listen to.
The night was pulled off by WRC staff members Angela Lemire and Niki Trueblood’s months and months of planning. The WRC members began planning weeks before spring break and didn’t stop until the night of the celebration.
"Everyone’s been working so hard all year," Lemire said. "We really wanted everyone to just come and have a great time. Now I just want to relax, take it all in, drink a glass of wine and eat some chocolate."
"Athena in Velvet" featured three unique performances by local artists whose work was inspired by the Greek goddess Athena and the arrival of spring. Claudia Alick, associate producer for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, was the first performer of the evening.
"She is fabulous," Lemire said of Alick. "She kind of just fell into our laps."
Alick is known internationally for her poetry performances and gave the audience several treats by reciting spoken word, haikus and long-verse pieces. Her opening performance featured a two-part, interactive poem that showed Alick on the projector screen directly behind her, speaking bits and pieces of the poem at the same time. Her other poetry included the titles "Harlem Girl," "Deborah Brown" and "The Vagina Yes," in which the closing lines read "George Bush? No. Our bush? Yes."
Senior French major Eva Ford enjoyed Alick’s performance.
"I thought she was awesome," Ford said. "She was joyful, articulate and hilarious."
Ford also commended the WRC’s decoration and atmospheric efforts.
"They actually made Britt look good," she said. The ballroom was adorned with streamers, paper flowers and romantic candlelight. "Everyone seems to be in a wonderful mood. It’s nice to have a women-centered event."
Belly dancer Tiazza Wilson performed second, followed by the Eugene-based indie band, The Ovulators.
A silent auction was held throughout the evening as well, with several art pieces created by women donated from local galleries. Vases, oil paintings, charcoal drawings, purses, jewelry and photography were all featured in the auction. Bidding prices started at $5 for pieces ranging from $300 to $1,200 in retail price. Ashland Art Works, Gallery DeForest, Nomadic Artists and Out of the Flame were among the local art donors.
Tickets for a massage package, valued at $175, were raffled off during the night for $1 each. Several individuals, families and local companies made the night possible by donating all of the event’s food and wine. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Co. and Market of Choice were among the long list of donors.
Proceeds from the evening went to the WRC’s creativity program Vivacious Voices: Empowerment through Education and Expression. For more information about WRC events, call 552-6216.