STOMPING GROUNDS: Power to the artists

FYI

Where: 338 S Stone Ave.

When: 1-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat.

How much: Free to low income and elders

Contact: 629-9976, Ext. 3

Website: womankraft.com

PHOTOS AND STORY  by CONNOR BROWN

Just south of downtown Tucson sits WomanKraft, a “non-profit arts organization founded to claim, validate and empower women artists and other under-represented groups.”

Located in a historic Tucson house, the gallery has a “great space to display artistic works,” according to Zoe Rhyne, director of exhibits and Castle Voice Editor.

“The area is very natural and because you are walking through a house you understand how the art would look in a home environment,” she said.

The gallery has a rotating theme, which artists must incorporate into their pieces.

Executive Director Grace Rhyne and Director of Exhibits Zoe Rhyne stand tall.

“I’m impressed at how many different ways people interpret the theme,” Rhyne said.

During my visit, the theme was “Out of This World” and you could see how much variety each piece contained.

From crocheted aliens, vast spiral galaxies and colorful interpretations of the astrological signs, each piece stays true to the theme while also staying unique to the artist.

The gallery also offers a variety of other services, including bingo nights, art classes and a charity rummage sale. Classes are usually $20 each and include supplies; however, workshops are free for low-income individuals who are 50 or older.

“Our goal is to help emerging artists,” said Grace Rhyne, executive director. “WomanKraft was started in 1974 by wise women. We hope to continue the legacy they created.”

Attached to the home is The Sanctuary, a natural salon that offers “safe and effective vibrational healing remedies using natural and organic flower essences, gem elixirs and essential oils.”

In what used to be the old servant’s quarters of the house are the studios where art classes are held. There is a class for almost anything you can think of including learning perspective, handmade paper masks and “alphabet soup” where students take lines from old poetry and create new poems with them.

“The WomanKraft studios are very nice and very affordable,” said Tony Di Angelis, a mixed media artist who works out of the WomanKraft studios.

“I’ve been painting since I was 5, and I’m 57 now. I’ve been around and the classes are amazing. I’m learning things I never knew. It’s also great because each class only has about five or six other students, so it’s very personal.”

“We are always looking for new submissions,” Rhyne said. “All you have to do to be considered is submit within the timeframe and fit the theme. The sooner you submit the better.”

There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. The “Drawing Down the Muse” gallery takes only submissions from women, the holiday show has price restrictions, and there will be a show where each piece must be made from recycled materials.

Grace Rhyne stands proud in front of a few of her works. Many of these pieces can be replicated by patrons coming in.

If you are interested in contacting WomanKraft to submit art to an upcoming gallery you can contact Zoe. You can view events and classes at the WomanKraft website WomanKraft is also always looking for volunteers to help.

“Kraft with a K means power in German,” said Grace Rhyne. “WomanKraft literally means woman power.”

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