Aspen Chapel Gallery exhibit ‘Les Femmes’ will raise funds for Planned Parenthood
“Les Femmes,” Aspen Chapel Gallery’s first all-female artist exhibition, takes up a theme you won’t find in many American churches today — and will support Planned Parenthood directly.
“The Aspen Chapel Gallery is delighted to present ‘Les Femmes,’ an art show, which supports a woman’s right to choose,” said curator Jennifer Johnston-Jones. “‘Les Femmes’ explores the era created by the overruling of Roe v. Wade through a multidisciplinary lens, from sculpture to painting. Together, the pieces’ exquisite design and intricate construction illuminate the role of sexism and misogyny in society, both on a local and global scale. ‘Les Femmes’ additionally provides an opportunity to help women in the community, as proceeds go directly toward Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, which has reported a 28% increase in out-of-state patients seeking abortions.”
In the months since June 24, 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which ended 50 years of legal federal protection of abortion and allowed individual states to ban abortion access, Colorado has seen an influx of people traveling from out of state seeking the procedure.
According to provisional data from 2022 released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 28% of abortions in Colorado were obtained by out-of-state residents. The largest percentage of those, about 17%, were performed on Texas residents, followed by women from Oklahoma and Kansas.
Most abortions are now banned in 13 states. Georgia bans abortion at about six weeks of pregnancy, with a similar ban approved in the Florida Senate on Monday. The measure is supported by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and must be approved by the Florida House before it reaches his desk.
Legal battles and blocks of abortion bans are taking place in eight other states.
On the flip side, abortion is legal in 27 states, with many states recently adding additional protections. Colorado is one of those states.
Historically, Colorado has been at the forefront of protecting reproductive rights. It was the first state that decriminalized abortion care on April 25, 1967, six years before the Supreme Court legalized it nationally in 1973.
Ever since, Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected initiatives that would impose restrictions on abortion access in the state, culminating with the governor signing the Reproductive Health Equity Act in April 2022, guaranteeing abortion access and other reproductive rights without government interference as part of the state statute.
While Coloradans continue to have legal access to abortion, the influx of out-of-state patients has put a strain on local clinics trying to keep up with the increased demand for reproductive health care.
The participating artists of “Les Femmes” have partnered with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ office in Glenwood Springs to help raise funds to address these demands.
“We wanted it to be a very hyperlocal show,” said Johnston-Hones. “We want to make a stand as women artists in the valley. It is a political issue, and it’s a class issue. Art is very personal, and it is very political and has always been a vehicle for social justice and change.”
In curating the show, Johnston-Hayes looked for artists who were philosophically aligned with protecting a woman’s right to choose.
“When Jennifer invited me to participate in the show this past fall, I was in,” said local artist Jet Hall. “Doing this together as a group of women artists from our community means everything. The fact that it is also a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood is meaningful because we can give back to other women and families. I’m so grateful to Jennifer for her vision and hard work in bringing us all together for this important show.”
Johnston-Hayes assembled, too, a group of women diverse in age — the youngest an 18-year-old local high-school student — and experience to illustrate the different realities of being a woman at every stage of life, from the teenage years to motherhood and beyond.
Artists showing work include Elleana Bone, K Cesark, Elizabeth De Wetter, Natalie Fryer, Jet Hall, Jennifer Johnston-Hones, Shawana Miller-Vargas, Ashley Mosher, and Susannah Reid.
“To be a part of the ‘Les Femmes’ show is an act of solidarity, a form of activism through art for me,” said Mosher. “We create in order to influence on some level, and this show allows us to use our artwork to support and advocate for basic access to health care, promote inclusivity, and a woman’s inherit right to choose what’s right for her own body. It is an honor to be included alongside this group of gifted fem-identifying artists and show our solidarity on these issue through our collective works of art.”
Local 14 year old writes young adult novels
Nyala Honey has done more in her 14 years on this earth than many people accomplish in decades. The 14-year-old Basalt resident has published two young adult novels, which she’ll talk about and read from at Explore Booksellers at 2 p.m. on June 8.