Nasty Women NWA to Hold Art Events Throughout April

Nasty Women NWA to Hold Art Events Throughout April

An arts series called Nasty Women Northwest Arkansas aims to celebrate “nasty women” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s label for Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate — by displaying art by more than 30 local women from all mediums throughout the month of April.

The local exhibits will join the global Nasty Women art movement that aims to demonstrate solidarity among artists who identify with being a Nasty Woman in the face of threats to roll back women’s rights, individual rights, and abortion rights.

The first exhibits at Local Color Gallery and Stage Eighteen will run through this first weekend only, with the opening reception to take place during first Thursday on the Fayetteville square, April 6. The event will also showcase a mobile arts studio and news van project brought by one of the original Nasty Women Exhibition organizers from New York City. Live music from Lost John will be at Stage Eighteen, and Melissa of Hayes From The Hills will be playing music at Local Color Gallery. The art will remain on display the rest of April.

A majority of proceeds from donations and art sales will benefit the NWA Center for Sexual Assault.

The New York’s Nasty Women Organizers Jessamyn Fiore and Victoria Keddie will be in town to participate in a panel discussion on Saturday, April 8 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. with local artists and organizers Maryamsadat Amirvaghefi, Marty Maxwell Lane, Olivia Trimble, and Samantha Sigmon, a co-organizer for the NWA Nasty Women events. They will discuss the creation of this exhibition, their unique backgrounds as artists and organizers, and what we can all continue to do to promote gender equality.

Courtesy Photo/  “Girl at Whitney” by Cindy Arsaga will be featured at the Nasty Women exhibit at Stage Eighteen April 6.

Courtesy Photo
“Girl at Whitney” by Cindy Arsaga will be featured at the Nasty Women exhibit at Stage Eighteen April 6.

Throughout April, there will be something for everyone. The following weekend of April 14 and 15, there will be a small works show at Backspace, where works will be $100 or less and a folk show from Allison Williams and Rachel Reynolds the first night and a rock show from Witchsister, Ten High, and Spirit Cuntz the next. On April 21, there will be a one-night-only multimedia installation experience that will include music, art, and performance at Lala Land from 7 to 11 p.m. for a $5 suggested donation.

A comedy night is planned for April 22 at Stage Eighteen, followed by an improv night at Backspace April 27. A closing exhibition and performance event run by Cynthia Post Hunt, the co-curator of the Inverse Performance Art Festival will take place April 29 at Stage Eighteen.

We got the chance to talk with series co-organizer Samantha Sigmon about the events:

TFW: Tell me a little about the story here. How did this concept come to fruition, what is the idea behind “Nasty Women”? Who all is involved in the planning of this series?

SIGMON: So the idea started with several artists, curators, and organizers as a response to the fear of regressive policies being enacted due to the new administration taking power. The first event was over inauguration weekend in New York, and they made over $42,000 for Planned Parenthood! From there, the organizers decided to support sister shows globally, so now there are 40 plus Nasty Women arts events happening internationally. I knew one of the organizers because she had only recently received her Masters in art at the University of Arkansas and I had worked with her in the arts, so she reached out to me to see if I wanted to help take this project on. Instead of one weekend, we made it one month, two events each week including music, writing, performance, comedy, art of all kinds, and a zine! I knew that we had such a great group of creatives that could be involved, so I made it open to everyone. We picked a local group that serves women (and anyone), NWA Center for Sexual Assault, so we’re really making this event our own!

TFW: Is this a political art show? Meaning, is there an objective to some of these pieces that relates to our current political climate, or is this mostly a collection of art of any kind by women in the area?

The submission was open to anyone that wanted to apply and felt allied to the cause of gender equality. Of course, it did originate as a arts response to the political climate, but one of the organizers said that “the power is in participation,” so we took work from anyone that felt called to submit and be a part of what we were doing. I believe we are united by the cause that women should be treated equally and be empowered to be who they are. Also, the arts can connect people in unique ways, so we wanted to show solidarity in the diversity of submissions, people that are standing up for rights and gender equality.

We are uniting all the arts to turn a positive spotlight on all the creative women in Northwest Arkansas. It’s more than just visual art, it’s showing that all art and all communities can be united in the cause of gender equality but also in the cause of supporting NWA Center for Sexual Assault. With so many events, you can tell there’s a big movement going on.

TFW: Could you tell me a little more about the decision to support the NWA Center for Sexual Assault?

SIGMON: Several years ago Backspace did a rock fundraiser for them that did pretty well. They have a really good reputation in the community. They also primarily serve women, but are open to anyone of course. They are a cause that I feel like just about anyone can get behind, and principally, they are a local organization doing all those things. We are showcasing and highlighting our community for a community cause which we felt was important.

Courtesy Photo “She Makes The Milk” by Emily Smith is another artwork that will be on display at the Nasty Women exhibit at Stage Eighteen throughout April.

Courtesy Photo
“She Makes The Milk” by Emily Smith is another artwork that will be on display at the Nasty Women exhibit at Stage Eighteen throughout April.

TFW: At Stage Eighteen, the organizers of the first Nasty Women exhibit will be there. Who are they, and what can we expect from what they’ll be bringing?

SIGMON: Victoria Keddie is an artist who has a news van turned art studio she will be bringing down and interviewing people. Jessamyn Fiore is an international curator. My connection with them, Aimee Odum, who used to live here, assured them they needed to come to NWA to see what was going on here, so we’re so excited to work with them! They’ll be here for First Thursday as well as, most importantly, the panel discussion on Saturday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at 21c where people can learn about the creation of this exhibition. It will also feature women that are leading our community in the arts in many different ways, just to show how the principals that created the New York exhibition are alive and well here as well.

Nasty Women Exhibit Artists


Ashley Lewis

Cindy Arsaga

Claire Cosmos

Donna Smith

EE Gardner

Elise Lunsford

Emily Smith

Helen Maringer

Karen Huja

Kate Baer

Laurie Foster

Lauren Whitmore

Maryam Amirvaghefi

Olivia Trimble

Peggy Maringer

Sabine Schmidt


Abigail Grix

Anne Reichart

Danielle Pugel

Emily Chase

J’Aron Merchant

Jay Vrecenak

Jazmyn Moon

Katrinka Booth

Kellie Lehr

Lindsey Heiden

Kellie Lehr

Mikayla Hoffman

Monica Moore

Peggy Maringer

Rachel Trustee

Scarlet Sims

Shawna Elliot

Stephanie Petet

Categories: Galleries