Tag Archives: Courtney Coy

Strength is in the community

May 7, 2003

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Mattie Rhodes Center supports Westside arts, families, community

by COURTNEY COY

It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but for one West Side organization, working with children, families and their neighborhoods is paramount. The Mattie Rhodes Center, the Mattie Rhodes Art Center and the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery are devoted to providing positive experiences to Kansas City’s Latino community. Social services, mental health counseling, art programs, workshops and gallery space focused on promoting Latino artists. All services are bilingual and designed to embrace the Hispanic community.
“We work primarily with two neighborhoods. These neighborhoods include Latin Americans and Spanish immigrants who are adjusting to American life,” said Mary Lou Jaramillo, Director of the Mattie Rhodes Center. “The Center has been providing quality services in youth development and the arts for one hundred and nine years.”
Established in 1894, the center has remained true to its mission, a pledge to “help the needy and suffering by working for them, learning about them and trying to interest others in them.”
“We discovered that local youth and teens did not have enough positive activities to do, and that education could be enhanced by arts and crafts,” said Jaramillo. “Quality art opportunities focusing on culture were needed. At that time there were no venues showing Latino arts. That is how the Mattie Rhodes Art Center came to exist.”
“Education of one’s culture is important,” said Center director, Jenny Mendez. “Art connects to everything, from food to music-art is definitely an enormous part of Latino heritage and culture. By working with the center, children learn self-esteem, new skills and how to work as a team and contribute ideas. They also develop a better understanding of art and different fields that are available to them through art.”
The Children’s Art Exhibit, a recent Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery show, featured the work of children involved in the art center’s After School Art Program. A colorful exhibit, the children utilized folk art and religious icons, mixing imagination and spirit, expressed through paint, printmaking, mixed media and ceramics. The gallery is currently preparing for its May exhibit, Mujeres Fuertes.

“Mujeres Fuertes, a celebration of strong women, will feature local Latina artists in addition to a couple of national artists,” said William Hill, Exhibits and Education Coordinator. The annual exhibit honors women as the foundation of Latino families. Heritage, strength and personal mentors and influences are themes expressed by the artists and reflected in their photography, painting and sculptures. The exhibit will be on display through May 2-31.
To balance the feminine with the masculine, Machismo is scheduled for June. The exhibit asks Latino male artists to define the meaning of being a man, exploring strengths, weaknesses and their cultural identity. Opening reception will be held, Friday, June 6, 7-10 p.m. and will run through June 28.
Other upcoming shows for 2003 include Uniendo Nuestras Culturas: A Multi-Cultural Exhibit, Chicano Exhibit, Dia de Los Muertos-The Day of the Dead and Visiones de Guadalupe-Visions of our Lady of Guadalupe. All exhibits offer lectures and workshops.
The Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery is located at 919 West 17 street, Kansas City, MO. For additional information on the Mattie Rhodes Center and the Mattie Rhodes Art Center and Gallery visit www.mattierhodes.org.
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In search of Longview Writer’s Guild

May 7, 2003

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Longview’s writing group relies on interests for existence

by COURTNEY COY

Hemingway had Paris, Dorothy Parker had the Algonquin Circle and the Beatniks had each other. Writers and literary groups have synonymously been linked throughout time, but, for the Longview Writer’s Guild, time may be running out.
“My involvement with the Writer’s Guild has been minimal,” said Creative Writing instructor and Shorelines advisor Dawnielle Robinson-Walker. “I participated in the evening meetings about two years ago, but I haven’t had much to do with the group since. Terri Lowry and I have spoken about its resurrection, but there’s nothing etched in stone for the future.”
Lowry, who has served as a sponsor to the guild, attributes limited student participation and cuts in the Student Activities budget to the current state of the guild.
“I have lots of crazy, creative ideas-but I’m tired of doing it all myself,” she said.
“Daytime meetings and student-generated ideas may improve the future of the Guild, Lowry added.
Jason Wendleton, a former student of Lowry’s, explains, “What was so cool about creative writing class was how other writers influenced each other. My horizons were broadened by this experience and my writing is one hundred percent better. The Guild could serve the same function, easily.” Wendleton says he writes because it makes him feel good, “Some people play piano, some paint, I like to play with words.”
“Creative writing encourages playfulness and self-expression,” says Lowry, who has written a textbook on the subject, in addition to False Starts, published by Knopf. “It challenges received wisdom. It’s a way for quiet but commanding voices to be heard. It helps readers to see aspects of life they may never have considered.”
So what could a functioning Writer’s Guild bring to writers and the writing experience?
“The chance to rub elbows with somewhat serious, practicing and publishing writers” emphasizes Lowry, who collaborated with the Writer’s Guild and Kurt Canow in organizing an annual Writer’s Conference. “In the past, we discussed writerly issues-everything from politics to trends in publishing or performance to the best limerick form.”
Is the Writer’s Guild a thing of the past? It may not be, according to these writers who remain optimistic.
“Actually, I think in these times there is quite a lot of interest in writing,” says Lowry, while Walker hopes to “drum up interest and participation. Wendleton concludes, “I believe the Writer’s Guild could be something great.
For more information contact Terri Lowry at TerriLowry@kcmetro.edu

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Gallery exhibits Longview artists

April 18, 2003

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by COURTNEY COY

The Kansas City Artists Coalition is displaying chosen works at its Eighth Annual Juried Undergraduate College Student Exhibition. Featured artists include Longview students Angela Bond, Gabriel Carroll-Dolci, Dana Manickavasagam, Barbara Mohn and Glenn Smith, whose work was selected from approximately 300 entries.
“Good Boy, Bad Girl” and “Thugs” are two selected photographs by Bond, who also recently accepted the Best in Show award at the Trinity Lutheran art show. Capturing the many faces of and moods of adolescence, Bond’s photographs offer a compelling look into the esoteric lives of teens and pre-teens. The subtle narrative of Bond’s work has commanded attention from gallery goers and jurors alike.
“That’s a great shot,” said local artist and juror STRETCH of Bond’s photograph “Thugs.”
“You don’t know if they’re going to play soccer or commit a crime.”
Using art history as a foundation, STRETCH, whose sculpture “Passing of Knowledge” is displayed on the Longview Campus between entrances to the Campus Center and the Liberal Arts building, admires a style capable of taking the piece to another level.
“I look for the flavor to a piece, if it makes me laugh–something out of normal context, interpreted in a new way without being too literal.”
An example of this non-literal interpretation can be found in Carroll-Dolci’s “Urban Kansas City.” An emotional painting, “Urban Kansas City” merges bold brush strokes and electrified colors in a chaotic cityscape.
Manickavasagam, whose photograph “Pie Eating Contest” invites the viewer to join a young girl as she pauses face-first at the challenge of consuming a whole pie, describes her subject matter as mostly of her kids and the kids of her friends.
“I like to manipulate the image and focus in on what I like,” she said.
“The Feet of Them,” a photograph by Mohn, takes an abstract look at the feet of a local Kansas City sculpture. The playful wit of the piece reflects the artist’s own sense of humor.

“The worst part about being an artist is pretending to be one,” she quips. “I like unusual things, everyday oddities. That is what inspires my work.”
Smith’s “Treehouse” is a texturally layered juxtaposition of materials and symbolism. Wood, ceramics and metal form the organic structure of a tree. Upon closer inspection, the little world of the Treehouse combines with the commercialized refuse of Christmas, making for a voyeuristic riddle. The unique piece succeeds in engaging the viewer in Smith’s vision. One imagines the inhabitants of “Treehouse” to be something like cynical elves on a holiday bender.
It is the vision of such artists that KCAC strives to realize. Established in 1975, the artist-run coalition has promoted visual arts awareness in the metro area for over a quarter of a century by offering established as well as emerging artists the resources to exhibit their work.
KCAC is located at 201 Wyandotte in Kansas City, MO. Student exhibits are on display April 11-19.

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War protest puts Kansas City in touch with its political side

April 18, 2003

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by COURTNEY COY


For several months, the KC Free Iraq task force has been organizing “Let Iraq Live, ” a weekly peace protest held on the Plaza. Large crowds have gathered at the J.C. Nichols Fountain to voice their opposition to the evolving situation in Iraq. March 30, found war supporters and pro-truce supporters gathered alongside anti-war protesters to express their varied opinions. Transcending generations and nationalities, the crowd reflected the emerging political response to America at war.
A young woman stood at a microphone.
“What do we want?” she asked.
“Peace!” the crowd responded.
“When do we want it?”
“Now!” the crowd yelled in a unified voice. The girl identified herself as a member of Catholic School for Peace and then introduced Julie Cannol. Cannol, a high school student plans on joining the Navy after graduation. Her father is currently in the military. “I’m not here for anti-war or war,” she said, “I’m here for peace.”
One man played guitar and, in the distance, another played a tambourine. Neo-hippies and soccer moms blended with war veterans as car horns honked and people flashed peace signs. Protesters and war-supporters lined the streets, equipped with signs.
Sarah Hayden held a sign that read “Asses of Evil” above pictures of government officials. She said she is protesting because she believes the U.S.-led war to be immoral and for ill intentions. Hayden, a graduate of KU, has a cousin currently serving.
“I know quite a few veterans, especially from the Vietnam War. They are here protesting every week,” she adds, saying she worries about anti-American sentiment and America being seen internationally as “arrogant and ignorant.” Her opinion of George W. Bush, “He’s irresponsible with the things we’ve worked so hard for. He should be impeached and tried as a war criminal.”
A man stands with a large American flag, he asks to be identified only as Matt. A former Longview student, Matt insists that he is not protesting today. “I’m here to back our troops,” he says. His view on the U.S. approach to this war is that it is “the only option Iraq left to us,” though he admits to being pro-truce. His support of Bush is definite. “Love him!” he states.
A sign depicting President George W. Bush as the Tin Man from theWizard of Oz, accompanies the caricature, the caption reads, “Oil – the Tin Man needs a heart.” Gabriel Carrol-Dolci holds the sign as he poses for a press photo. Dolci, a student of Longview, has been protesting since the onset of the war. He explains that he supports the troops, but not the war.
“I have friends over there now.” He says, “I blame Bush’s paranoia for the situation.” When asked if he feels the U.S. has an ethical responsibility to perform as the world police, he responded, “Only if they were asked by the majority.”
“Let Iraq Live” Weekly Peace Protest, J.C. Nichols Fountain (47th St. and Main St.) Kansas City, Mo
Sundays 4-6 p.m. For more information visit http://www.Kciraqtaskforce.org

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National Organization for Women president speaks out

February 28, 2003

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by COURTNEY COY

The Independence chapter of the National Organization for Women has a newly elected president – Sylvia Grass. Grass, a Longview student, employee and a member of the debate team, explains, “I always wanted to make a difference and impact the world. NOW gives me the opportunity to do that.”
As president, Grass is focused on recruiting new members and educating the public on women’s issues. Her goal is to make NOW a big part of the eastern Jackson County community. NOW’s current projects include, Hands Around the Capital, a protest against the right-wing agenda. Protesters will gather around the Jefferson City Capitol Building on April 30th, to show solidarity against conservative messages. Also in the works, the Young Women’s Empowerment Conference and the second annual Take Back the Night Rally, both events scheduled for Fall 2003.
When asked why feminism is important in the twenty-first century, Grass emphasized, “Most people think the work is done and they don’t need us anymore. In fact, we still have work to do and we must hold the ground we have already gained. Men still make more money than women working the same jobs. Birth control is being threatened. Conservative politicians are proposing House Bill 154: Covenant Marriage. What that means is that you may no longer be able to get a no-fault divorce,” Grass said. “If you want a divorce, you will have to prove to a judge in a public court that your spouse has done one of the following: committed adultery, was convicted of a felony, abandoned the home for two full years and refused to come home, or physically or sexually abused you or your child.”
When confronted with misconceptions of feminism, Grass feels that “people think we are all white, middle class women who hate men, children and families. They think we’re all lesbians and extremists.”
“Our group is filled with mothers, wives, grandmothers and students of all races and sexual orientations,” she said “the second biggest misconception is that we want more than equal rights. This isn’t true. NOW wants equality- equal rights, not extra rights.

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