Four months after shutting their doors due to COVID-19, Lubeznik Center for the Arts once again opened to the public. The open house included a guided tour of their newest exhibition “Well Behaved Women: Celebrating 100 Years of Women’s Suffrage,” which features the art of 23 women to celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“The show has a mix of historical pieces and works by contemporary women, so it’s a diverse group of voices,” said Janet Bloch, Executive Director at Lubeznik Center for the Arts. “It’s exciting to be opening back up with this. We started planning it over a year and a half ago, and we’ve been working on it and adding to it as we went along, so it was always going to be a big deal for us regardless of COVID-19.”
A celebration of women’s art, suffrage, and finally opening their doors - the day also marked the start of Lubeznik’s First Friday exhibition series, where they showcase a new exhibit on the first Friday of each month. Usually hundreds of visitors crowd the center’s halls, but Bloch and the rest of the team wanted to scale it down and play it safe.
“We’re requiring masks in the building and limiting total visitors to 20 at a time,” she said. “We’re excited, but we feel like the most important thing as a community organization is to keep people safe. We want our staff, artists, and visitors all to feel safe.”
Bloch hosted the tour herself, and walked attendees through the history behind each work. One of the featured artists, Melissa Blount, made a surprise appearance and described how her pieces both highlighted and celebrated the stories and lives of black women. Her piece, “Black Girl Magic,” illustrated many little known or unknown Black women throughout American history.
“It’s a remarkable time that we find ourselves living in, and people who lived on the margins are finding a bigger spotlight,” Blount said. “With the way suffragettes changed history, I feel really honored to be a part of this. We’re not taught this kind of history in our regular curriculum, and I feel fortunate to have learned history in a different way through this project.”
Lubeznik is also planning to host virtual tours of its exhibits throughout the year. Hannah Hammond-Hagman, Education Director at Lubeznik Center for the Arts, hopes that “Well Behaved Women” and their other exhibits find their way into curriculums around the Region.
“It’s a great exhibit and it’s super timely,” she said. “Our goal is always to provide exhibits that are challenging and inspirational. I really look forward to teaching about this exhibit, even though it’ll be a lot different than how I’d usually do it.”
First Friday is open until 8 p.m., and registration for it and all of their future events are easy to find on their website at www.lubeznikcenter.org. The gallery is open weekdays from 10 a.m to 5 p.m, and weekends 11 a.m to 4 p.m., and closed on Tuesdays.
“We’ve missed everyone and are so excited to reopen,” Bloch said. “We hope that you’ll come by and visit us!”