40 West Arts

Athena rising

Arts group kicks-off festival at 40 West

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As the Greek goddess of the arts, Athena was the source of artistic inspiration and growth.

The Athena Project, which has the same aims for female artists in the metro Denver area, is celebrating another year of growth in women’s artistic accomplishments with a two-week-long exhibit at a local gallery.

“How She Sees It” opened Jan. 28 at 40 West Arts’ gallery, 1560 Teller St., and will be on display until Feb. 7.

“These works look at the world through the female eye,” said Angela Astle, executive director of the Athena Project. “The exhibition was curated by Janice Schindler, an artist whose work we came at the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design. We really liked what she had to say and our continuing collaboration with her led to this show.”

A real need exists for arts that give voice to women, according to Natalie Osborne, an intern at Athena Project from Bennington College in Vermont.

“Statistics show women are still vastly underrepresented in the arts,” she said. “It’s so important that this is happening — it’s important for Denver and for women.”

The show also serves as an informal kick-off for its annual arts festival, which features the world premiere of the play, “Harm’s Way,” workshops of new plays, and female musicians, dancers and visual artists.

“I think this is the year we’re really starting to expand,” she said. “Theater is our bread and butter but each year we grow in a different area, and this year those areas are music and fashion.”

To herald the growth in fashion, Athena is hosting a pop-up art and fashion boutique from 5:30-8 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the 40 West gallery. Featured designers are Salwa Owens and Caroline Smith. Admission is free and both art and fashion designs and accessories will be available for sale. Twenty percent of all sales will benefit the Athena Project.

“Angela has done a lot of work with the Edge and it’s part of our philosophy to partner and collaborate with other arts groups,” said Bill Marino, chair of 40 West. “We want to help artists any way we can.”

For more information call 303-219-0882 or visit www.athenaprojectfestival.org.

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