'Burn it Down' celebrates and benefits women

"the past is the past" by Barbara Merritt, layered watercolor and hand-cut collage.

On Friday, April 7, the B Side Lounge will bring together 30 female artists—presenting visual, sound, and performance art—for the opening night of Burn It Down.

The exhibition explores and celebrates the resiliency of women, and will benefit Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center, an organization dedicated to empowering women and children dealing with trauma from domestic abuse, housing insecurity, and more.

Burn it Down is the brainchild of artist and curator Staci McNasty, who said the idea came from “watching the world, and some of my girls go through the ringer at the hands of beaters, gaslighters, and master manipulators."

"I want to reach the women who don't have strength to stand yet—help them rise and fight," said McNasty. “I’m a mom. I want to make sure that these younger women have a good support group and are able to use their voices without fear.”

McNasty's life-sized, papier-mâché skaters will be part of the show, inspired by her 13-year-old son, Lux. 

While the exhibition's visual art may have been created in the spirit of erasing tropes that have long been attached to women, the show also seeks to reclaim and redefine what it means to identify as femme. It considers that sometimes, in order to rebuild an identity for yourself, you have to burn it all down.

The exhibition's roster of visual artists joins regional powerhouses with emerging artists, including Dott Von Schneider, Marlee Pickles, Christine Sixteen, R. E. Yody, Bernadette Glorioso, Barb Merritt, Ashley Burns Todd, Beatrice Banaszak, Amy Hawks, Traci Gasho, Carla VFX, Bevin Ricker, Penney Vasquez, Lisa Miralia, Liz Adams, Gina Swor, Cassy DePuy, Dawn Teckler, Melvis the Pelvis, Kelly Kiessling Coleman, Kimberly Hendzel, Grace Victoria Gerengher, Tracy Parsons, Hadley K Connor, Kerstin Barnette, Pamela Voigt, and Jennifer Thomas-Heidt. 

Opening night festivities kick off at 5 p.m. with light refreshments, and will feature local bands with female musicians displaying empowerment in all its forms throughout the evening, both upstairs at Grog Shop and downstairs at B Side Lounge (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.).

The $10 suggested donation will benefit Laura's Home Women's Crisis Center at the City Mission of Cleveland.

Performing will be Muzzle, Kill The Hippies, Night Medicine, Ringer, Seeing Scarlet, and Killer Kilroys. DJs She Rex, Mittenclips, and Tubeway Army will provide ambiance for the evening. Drag and burlesque dancers will also participate. 

A portion of sales from artwork purchased over the duration of the exhibition will also be donated to Laura’s Home. It offers housing, and programs that empower families and individuals to transition from crisis to self-sufficiency. 

The art exhibition will be on view during the month of April at B Side Lounge, during business hours. For more information visit www.bsideliquorlounge.com

Rachel Hunt

Rachel Hunt is the marketing director of Grog Shop, and spent years working on Coventry—first at Tommy's, then in retail at Vintage Apparel and Made Cleveland. She is continually amazed by the vibrancy and culture found within Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:51 AM, 04.02.2023