Saturday, Nov. 13, marks the 36th annual Women in the Arts Festival, held at Edgewood United Church in East Lansing from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This free, hyper-local event celebrates women’s creativity through art, music, and poetry.
Julie Haan, a member of the Women in the Arts Festival Committee, spoke about the history of the long-running event, which began in 1986.
“The reason they formed a committee was to give a place for women to showcase their arts, both visual and performing arts, and to also kind of train women in the technical aspects of putting together a performance,” she said.
“At that time, there wasn’t that opportunity for women. Mostly, things were put on by men’s groups, and so it was a way to kind of give women that forefront to be able to do that.”
For the last decade, the festival has partnered up with Ten Pound Fiddle Concert and Dance Series in East Lansing and Goldenrod Music in Lansing to collaborate with their networks for curating the live music lineup.
“Last year, with Covid, we did a virtual festival. This is the first one since Covid, and we’re making it just a one-day festival and trying to keep it hyper-local. In the past, we’d usually bring some bigger performers from outside the area,” Haan told ELi
This year’s live music is free-of-charge, but Haan said donations are accepted. Money raised goes towards putting on the festival and paying all the performers.
Folk singer Sally Potter (Second Opinion) kicks off the live music at noon, followed by a solo set by Tammy Cook (RAW, Scary Women), and then Jen Sygit (Stella!) at 1:30 p.m.
A second set of live entertainment follows with guitar sets from Murray Stewart Jones (Half Looking) at 2:15 p.m. and Liv DeJohnge (LVRS) at 3:15 p.m.
Voices of the Revolution (Kim Griffin, Laurie Hollinger, Lisa Sarno, Melinda Haus, Rina Risper, Ruelaine Stokes, and Tari Muñiz) will perform a feminist spoken word piece at 4:15 p.m.
The family-friendly event also includes an artist market with 30 various vendors with women-made creations like paintings, drawings, photos, jewelry, sculpture, pottery, glass, books, music, and more. There’s also an online Facebook artist market as well as an online auction from now until Nov. 12, featuring tickets to Wharton Center for Performing Arts, gift certificates to Playmakers, Creative Wellness, and more.
Edgewood United Church in East Lansing is located at 469 N. Hagadorn Rd.