Exhibiting 100 years worth of influence
Appeal Staff Writer
In the last 100 years, Nevada has welcomed the automobile and the airplane, survived global conflicts, watched the computer change the world and Las Vegas grow from a tiny desert town into an international destination.
Now, Women of Diversity Productions has produced an exhibit highlighting the century’s worth of contributions by women in the shaping of Las Vegas.
“100 Years of Influence: The Role of Women in Shaping the First Hundred Years of Las Vegas,” consists of a 40-foot “Wall of Women” graphic, histories of 23 women’s organizations, continuous showings of video interviews of selected women on the wall, the “Women of Diversity Triad Tower” and art from “Essential Dimensions,” the juried art exhibit.
The exhibit is on display in the Joseph Anderson Art Gallery at the Nevada State Library and Archives through March 28.
“We thought it was important to show women’s influences on Nevada and specifically on Las Vegas,” said Denise R. Duarte, advisory board member and lead artist. “A lot of the historical aspects focused on the men, and not to take away from that, but we wanted to show the roles women played.”
The “Women of Diversity Triad Tower,” was created specifically for the “100 Years of Influence exhibit” by Duarte, Lois Dohra, Sophia Lenz and Cyd Madsen. The tower features three panels representing the distinct areas of female influence.
The “Golden Mean” panel illustrates the divine role of women throughout history and in contemporary life. The “GAIA” panel is the Earth Mother symbolizing women’s role as caregivers and nurturers. The “Fabric of Society” panel symbolizes how women hold the fabric of society together.
The exhibit was originally part of the Las Vegas Centennial Project and was on display at the Las Vegas Art Museum and various locations throughout Las Vegas Valley.
“The night of the opening reception, the museum had never had even close to that many people for an opening night. We had 800 people there and they stopped counting after that,” said Dr. Marlene Adrian, president of Women of Diversity Productions. “There was a whole meeting of all these friends and these women were sharing things with their families.”
A total of 286 women were included in the “Wall of Women,” including, among others, the first woman elected to public office, the first Hispanic woman to have a school named for her, the first woman to direct an all-girl band on the Strip, the first female mayor of Las Vegas, the first Latina woman anchor of a mainstream TV station and the first black cocktail waitress hired on the Strip.
Holly Gonzales, the first latina woman anchor of a main stream TV station, died shortly after the exhibit opened.
“To lose someone so young while we were honoring her was so touching and special,” Duarte said.
Once the exhibit concludes its run in Carson City, the Wall of Women will be on display at the Community College of Southern Nevada in Boulder City.
The exhibit was funded in part by grants from the Nevada Humanities, Las Vegas Centennial Commission, the Nevada Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as private and corporate donors.
If you go
What: “100 Years of Influence: The Role of Women in Shaping the First Hundred Years of Las Vegas” exhibit
When: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays through March 28
Where: Joseph Anderson Art Gallery at the Nevada State Library and Archives
Call: 684-3313 or to http://www.nevadaculture.org for more information