Censorship be damned, here’s to a month with meaning
October is National Anti-Censorship Month (and Banned Book month) and several Stark County organizations have banded together to bring you a series of events on artistic license and responsibility. With these events comes the hope for a dialogue, a discussion of the freedom that art brings, but also the grave accountability that comes with that freedom.
Uncensored National Juried Show
Kicking off the month-long extravaganza sanctioning the unsanctioned is Anderson Creative. They will present their first national juried show, UNCENSORED. The show will display the work of 25 artists from across the nation, some of which has never been seen. In many cases, these pieces have been rejected from other shows for their controversial content. Mindful of a balance between artistic freedom and artistic responsibility, a jury has selected an impressive exhibit from over 80 submissions, culminating in an installation that may be controversial, but will certainly be thought-provoking.
Participants come from all over the nation, with local artists including Tom Wachunas, Judi Krew, Gail Wetherell-Sack, Vicki Boatright, Sharon Charmley, Megan Mars and others. Jurors for the show were Anderson Creative Studio representatives Kevin Anderson and Craig Joseph, guest-curator Michele Waalkes and Christian Harwell from Cyrus Art Gallery.
For a show about lifting the veil, don’t expect shock and awe without reason. According to Waalkes: “For us to accept work for the show, the piece needed to be truly meaningful. There needed to be a reason for the artist’s work; a motive- not just ‘edgy’ for edginess sake.” Pieces were selected based on a combination of the quality and provocativeness of the work, but also on the considerable artist statements that accompanied each submission.
“We received work that was just beautiful, but it didn’t challenge. That’s where the artist statements come into play. It’s important to hear from the artist, to see the work and to understand how they interpret it.”
The optimal way to view each work at this unorthodox show is by experiencing the total vision of each artist- taking into account his or her statement. Waalkes suggests withholding judgment until you can internalize the total package, both the artists’ visual and verbal voices.
“Let me be clear, it’s not a show about aesthetics. There are definitely some pieces that you just won’t be drawn to. It’s a show for meaning, an opportunity to show the works of artists who don’t traditionally have access to show their work,” explained Waalkes.
The show opened on First Friday, Oct. 1 and continues throughout the entire month (just be sure to keep the kids at home).
When asked how she came to be involved as curator, Waalkes explains that early on she hesitated. “At first, I wasn’t completely sure because I’m probably a little bit more conservative than others. I didn’t want to get in the way of the movement. But in the end, I think we selected powerful, moving and challenging work.”
Other anti-censorship events during the month include:
Marjory’s Diary, a film screening and filmmaker interview on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Canton Palace Theatre (as part of the first annual international film festival).
Chesapeake, a one man show written by Lee Blessing, performed by Craig Joseph Friday, Saturdays and Sundays from Oct. 8 through 17, with shows at 8 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Kathleen Howland Theatre.
Screening of Preston Sturges’ The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek, on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Lions Lincoln Theatre in Massillon. The screening includes an introductory lecture by Dr. William Lafferty.
Too Tasty to Be Legal, a special meal at Iris Restaurant in downtown Canton and a screening of The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.