Third-annual Women and Non-Binary Art Show highlights local artists and builds community


Reanne Weil

Ed’s No Name Bar is home to the 3rd annual Woman and Non-Binary art show from Feb. 28-April 1. On display is a variety of artwork from members of the community who represent this marginalized community. Above is a piece created and contributed by Sophia Sailer.

Reanne Weil, News Editor

Be heard. Be seen. Be appreciated. Those were three goals artists aimed for when participating in the third-annual Women and Non-Binary Art Show hosted by No Name Bar.

The importance of such a powerful show was for marginalized artists to have space to share their creativity and brilliance.

Running from Feb. 28 through April 1 with a reception on March 10, visitors of Winona had the opportunity to view over 95 pieces of artwork from about 45 artists, which is an increase of 20 artists from previous years.

Mary-Jo Klinker, a professor and the director of women’s gender and sexuality studies at Winona State University, is a community advisor and co-curator of the event. Klinker was pleased with the reception and honored to be a part of the event.

“It was a community-building opportunity,” Klinker said. “People could view their art, they could witness themselves as artists in the community but then also engage in a reception that had a lot of artists.”

Klinker then expressed her gratitude to her co-curator, Alexis Hayes, and appreciated their partnership.

“It means a lot to me that there are two of us who curated it, especially with Alexis being an artist,” Klinker said.

Hayes agreed and reflected on how impactful the event was for her own life.

“I think it’s important to be able to provide a platform to people in this community who have so much talent to showcase, that may not have been given a platform before, which is a platform that I’ve had trouble accessing myself,” Hayes said. “It’s a chance for marginalized folks to shine as they deserve to.”

In addition to the artwork being shown, the event had numerous activities and presenters for community members to engage with.

“The reception moved it from 2D or 3D art into the possibility of performances,” Klinker said. “We also juxtaposed that with important resources in the community including the Advocacy Center, Residents Organizing Against Racism, Community Not Cages and a few other organizations.”

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the reception included an array of community activities such as singing, dancing, poetry, lip synching, hula hooping and more. Additionally, tarot readings were available, and a kids art table was provided by Our Voices.

Along with the activities and presentations, there was also a People’s Choice award given out to the winner, Carter Hilde. Hayes enjoyed witnessing citizens of Winona coming together to engage in these activities.

“My favorite part is bringing so many different people in the community together who may not have ever connected outside of the space that Mary-Jo and I created,” Hayes said. “I also just love existing in spaces that are art-centered. It’s soul-enriching, it’s refreshing.”

Klinker addressed the importance of having a community-based event not just for the residents, but for the students as well.

“I think that for college students, there’s this idea that campus is its own space, but having a space that breaks down the walls between the campus and the community is a really good way to grow the community.”

Klinker further mentioned the benefits of putting on this show for everyone involved.

“It was really just to acknowledge the importance of fem and non-binary brilliance,” Klinker said. “Creativity is important, but community-building is important, and art is a way to enact that.”

Hayes mentioned that the message behind the event was for appreciation and awareness to those in the area who may not feel like they are truly heard.

“I hope visitors can simply appreciate how talented the people in this community are,” Hayes said. “Winona is filled to the brim with artists of many different types, and our creativity is such a strong contribution to the life of this community.”