Women Finding Balance

“Darkness/Light,” by Jennifer Blakeslee

“Darkness/Light,” by Jennifer Blakeslee

CoMFY art exhibit returns to Beacon library

Back for a seventh go-round, the members of CoMFY, the Beacon-based collective of women artists, are climbing the walls at their annual Howland Public Library exhibit. Their artwork is, too, inspired by this year’s theme, “balance.” 

The notion of balance was one of the founding principles of the group, which was created by Kat Stoutenborough and Jennifer Blakeslee in 2011. Its initial discussions focused on how women could balance jobs, parenting and family with being an artist. 

“Women came together to share strategies, bounce ideas and encourage each other,” the women recalled in a written history of the group. One informal rule was that the participants could only talk about non-art priorities in the context of how they impacted their art.

Michelle Rivas, the community engagement librarian at Howland (and a member of the board of Highlands Current Inc., which publishes this newspaper), says that when CoMFY members began dropping off their work for the exhibit “they all seemed so excited about the prospect of being in the same room together after so much time” because of the pandemic shutdown. 

For the March 2020 show, “we thought we would just reschedule the opening or have a closing party, not knowing there would soon be a stay-at-home order,” Rivas recalls. “The group hung its 10th anniversary exhibit in 2021 but was again unable to gather.”

That exhibit stayed on the library walls for two years, “like a time capsule,” Rivas says.

The opening reception for the 2023 exhibit, held on March 11, drew a sizable crowd, prompting Rivas to extend the show a month, through April 28. The exhibit was curated by the library, with installation assistance from CoMFY members Jan Dolan and Anna West.

One thought on “Women Finding Balance

  1. Love the “balance was one of the founding principles of the group…” I would love to see artwork reflecting how the men changing diapers, cooking healthy meals, food shopping, singing lullabies to their children before bed and more. I could just see it 🙂

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