This week, ESU’s Women’s Studies Department celebrated Women’s History Month with their annual recreation of artist Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party.”
Through the collaboration of ESU professors Dr. Andrea McClanahan, Dr. Margaret Ball, Dr. Mollie Whalen and Darlene Farris-Labar,
The Dinner Party has been a campus event for seven years.
The Dinner Party at ESU was inspired by a class trip to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, where Chicago’s original piece was displayed.
The original piece depicts a ceremonial banquet, arranged on a triangular table with a total of thirty-nine place settings, each commemorating an important woman from history.
The settings consist of embroidered runners, gold chalices and utensils and painted plates with artwork inspired by each woman honored.
The names of another 999 women are inscribed in gold on the white tile floor below the triangular table.
The Dinner Party is meant to symbolize the sisterhood of being a woman, and coming together in enjoyment and celebration of one another.
This year, in the event’s largest turnout, over 45 women from ESU’s student and faculty, as well as members of the surrounding community, honored admirable women from history with decorative plates and placemats.
“For me, The Dinner Party means a time for students, faculty, staff, administrators and community members to gather and learn about women of influence,” said McClanahan, one of the founders of The Dinner Party here on campus.
“The Dinner Party gives people a chance to walk away from those other obligations for a few hours and really think about how women throughout history and those in our own lives have helped shape who we are as people and how we view the world,” McClanahan continued.
For this year’s event participants gathered, shared conversation and most of all enjoyed the company and sisterhood of one another.
Each participant displayed her artwork along with a story of the woman who inspired the piece.
“We got an insight of not only the powerful women who have changed the world, but for a minute, we saw through the lens of our own peers, and their own aspirations,” said Echeverry, president of feminist alliance.
Among those honored this year were Maya Angelou, The Goddess Athena, Ellen DeGeneres, and even Queen Elizabeth. Mothers, grandmothers and friends were also honored in appreciation.
The Dinner Party shows promise of becoming a longstanding tradition at ESU.
“It would be great to have an exhibit with the plates and placemats for everyone to see what the past seven years have produced,” McClanahan said.
The Dinner Party was one of the many events held on campus in March and April in celebration of Women’s History Month.
The entire campus community is invited to celebrate the last event in the series at the Women’s Center Lawn Party on Tuesday, April 29 at 1 p.m.
The Women’s Studies department hopes that students especially will be encouraged to take part in next year’s plate painting and Dinner party ceremonies.
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