The Center for Gender Equity is getting into the spirit of Valentine’s Day this week after partnering on Feb. 11 with the Lehigh University Art Galleries in Zoellner Arts Center as part of the annual Be Your Own event series.
The event fits well with the Center for Gender Equity’s 2020 theme: love. The collaboration between the two entities is the first of its kind.
Be Your Own is celebrating its third year as one of the Center for Gender Equity’s most prominent programs. Every year brings a new theme and prompt that the center wants students to discuss, highlight and work toward. The goal is to explore relevant topics that may be affecting the student body.
“The center provides materials for students to express artwork based on the given theme in these creation spaces,” said Shaelyn Heft, ‘20, a lead coordinator for the Be Your Own events. “Eventually, the pieces will be hung up all around Fairchild-Martindale Library with artists’ descriptions and messages to invite all students to see what they have created, and to start meaningful conversations.”
Those who attended were given yarn and paper in order to create woven hearts — one to donate to the Be Your Own Gallery and one to give to someone special.
Stacie Brennan, curator of education at the Lehigh University Art Galleries, was one of the gallery’s staff members present at the event.
“We launched a new program series this semester called ‘Connect and Create,’ which allows students to participate in hands-on projects inspired by works on view in the gallery, and on exhibition,” Brennan said.
When the Lehigh University Art Galleries learned of the center’s Be Your Own campaign, Brennan said the department wanted to partner with that initiative and bring a creation space to the galleries.
“Essentially, we are trying to be a resource for creativity and inspiration for students,” Brennan said.
Students who participated in the event came ready to work, and got started with their artwork and creations.
Sara Alnajjar, ‘20G, was one of the many students from diverse backgrounds that participated.
The Valentine’s Day Be Your Own event was not the first that Alnajjar attended. She initially became interested in this campaign through the Lehigh After Dark event presented by the Center for Gender Equity last semester, centering on painting as an art medium rather than weaving, which was presented in this Valentine’s edition.
“I just love art,” Alnajjar said. “These events are creative spaces, and that’s why I am attracted to it. Any event that is art-based I am personally intrigued by, since it makes me relaxed. I come here to de-stress.”
The pieces created during this creation space and other Be Your Own events will be displayed in E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library starting March 25.