A! Magazine for the Arts

Virginia is celebrating women in the arts with the Minds Wide Open campaign.

Virginia is celebrating women in the arts with the Minds Wide Open campaign.

Wanted: Artists & Cultural Organizations for Virginia's 'Minds Wide Open' Celebration

November 17, 2008

In Spring 2010, the cultural community in Virginia will celebrate the arts with performances, exhibitions, literary readings and films on the theme of Women in the Arts. All Virginia artists and cultural organization are invited to participate by presenting at least one program for the public

Presentation time frame is between March and June of 2010 featuring Women in the Arts. These thousands of cultural events will be marketed as Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts.

Wanted: Collaboration

Virginia needs statewide arts collaboration. During 2007 this need was discussed at several roundtable meetings for the 22 largest cultural organizations in the state. Collaboration, not just among the major arts organizations, but among all members of the arts community in Virginia, will raise visibility for the arts. In designing this project, the Steering Committee looked at models for successful collaboration such as First Fridays and Acts of Faith Festival.

Successful arts collaborations feature programming designed around a common theme and time frame. In the increasingly common First Friday events, art galleries in a community hold exhibition events on the same night each month. The Acts of Faith Festival takes place annually among the local theatre companies in Richmond.

The common theme is faith and the goal is to create dialogue about faith in the community. Participating theatres select and produce a play that addresses faith that also matches the artistic vision of each individual organization. Together, these collaborations have attracted more media attention and patronage than had the programs been presented individually.

Join the Celebration

Each of Virginia's 22 largest arts organizations has made a commitment to participate in 2010. The Steering Committee is now asking Virginia arts organizations, artists, colleges, art galleries, libraries and museums to join the celebration.

For the 2010 celebration, which will take place between March and June, the Steering Committee invites individual Virginia artists and cultural organizations to participate by including their own program(s) on the theme of Women in the Arts.

This time period includes Women's History Month, Garden Week and Mother's Day so there are many opportunities to build on the theme. Any program around the theme of Women in the Arts is welcome -- including productions of plays by women playwrights, choreography or compositions by women, exhibitions of work by women painters or photographers, and films or plays in which the main characters are women.

The Steering Committee hopes that when this first statewide collaboration is successful, there will be regular Minds Wide Open celebrations every two or three years in the future, each featuring a new theme.


As of Nov. 15, 2008, "The Virginia Commission for the Arts is honored to be one of the first sponsors of Minds Wide Open. This unprecedented statewide collaboration will build new partnerships among artists and cultural organizations in every corner of the Commonwealth. The hundreds of arts events in this celebration will be a clear demonstration of the breadth and diversity of the performing, visual and literary arts in our great state," said Dr. Lucius Ellsworth of Wise, Va., chair of the Virginia Commission for the Arts.

Advertising & Promotion

Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts will share a common logo, a statewide advertising campaign, print materials, and a website. Media General designed and is hosting the website for Minds Wide Open which launched Oct. 1, 2008. The website will list all Minds Wide Open programs taking place across the state.

There will be no additional costs for the participating organizations. Minds Wide Open events should be programmed into a cultural organization's regular season and funds appropriately budgeted. Grant funding is not available for Minds Wide Open programs. The Steering Committee is identifying funding for the statewide promotion.

For more information, call 804-264-6695 or visit www.vamindswideopen.com.

To receive future updates, e-mail MelindaJScott99@gmail.com.