Perspectives Series

According to the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum’s Art Inventories Catalog, as of 2011, only 394, or less than 8 percent of the 5,193 public outdoor sculptures of individuals in the United States, were of women, compared with 4,799 of men.

More than ever we are a visual society. If we set a higher value on what we see and experience, what does it mean when women aren’t part of our public art, history textbooks, and media?

Join us for the 2019-20 Perspectives Series, an exploration of how the lack of recognition of women’s achievements in civil rights, the arts and sciences has impacted modern-day representation, public policy, and women’s relationships with each other.

The Perspectives Series brings together community partners to open doors for conversation about community topics and artistic ideas through education, storytelling and creativity.

Dive deeper into a different topic each month with podcasts, articles, videos and book recommendations found in our online resource library.

October’s Topic:
Women In Media and Music

Upcoming Perspectives Series Events:

Rule-breaking Women of American Music

OCT 8 / 7 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Lecture Room

Sheila Weller, journalist and author of Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon – and the Journey of a Generation, will join us via video chat to explore the women who shaped American popular music in wholly unrecognized ways. “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” tells the story of one of these trailblazing women and leads off the Midland Center for the Arts Broadway and Beyond series in October. Michigan musicians Ellen Rowe (jazz), Siusan O’Rourke (folk roots), and Jaime Marvin (pop rock) will then join together song and discussion of the greatest influences on their music and careers. A free and unticketed event.

American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs

Nov 6 / 7 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Lecture Room


A film screening and panel discussion.
This film plunges us into Boggs’s lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century: from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond.  A free and unticketed event.

Portraits of the Unsung

NOV 9 / 7:30 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Auditorium

Performed by the Choirs of the Center
Choirs of the Center have commissioned internationally-acclaimed composer Joel Thompson to write new music celebrating the lives of Michigan civil rights heroes, Rosa Parks, Viola Liuzzo, and Grace Lee Boggs. In addition to the new music written exclusively for this performance, Thompson has paired previously written repertoire that will enhance the evening honoring these incredible women. Join Thompson for a pre-concert talk to learn more. Tickets starting at $15 Adult / $10 Student.

20/20 Vision: Seeing HERstory Exhibition

JAN 25 – APR 26
On display in the AB Dow Museum

Explore 20/20 Vision: Seeing HERstory as we take an in-depth view of women’s contributions to the nation and the local community that shaped the last 100 years in the U.S. See the portraits of and learn about local Michigan women making a difference today and the change makers of tomorrow. Museum admission required.

Redefining Representation: The Women of the 116th Congress Exhibit

JAN 25 – MAR 29
On display in the AB Dow Museum

Just over a century ago, Jeannette Rankin of Montana won a seat in the House of Representatives, becoming the first woman ever elected to federal office. In 1917, 128 years after the first United States Congress convened, she was sworn into its 65th session. One hundred and two years later, one has become 131 — the number of women serving in both chambers of the 116th Congress for 2019-2020.

This exhibit of portraits, first published as its own 16-page section in the New York Times in January 2019, features striking images of the women who now serve in the House and Senate. Internationally-renowned photographers Elizabeth Herman and Celeste Sloman turn the traditionally male art form of portraiture on its head and evoke the imagery we are used to seeing in the halls of power, but place people not previously seen as powerful starkly in the frames.  Museum admission required.

In Conversation:
Redefining Representation: The Women of the 116th Congress

FEB 17 / 7 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Little Theater

Photographer Elizabeth Herman joins us at the Center to discuss the Redefining Representation portrait series. Herman will explore the history of the art form, and talk about the inspiration behind the portraits, the photographic process, and what it was like working with the women of the 116th Congress. A free and unticketed event.

Women’s STEM Night

FEB 11 / 7 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Founders Room

Celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science! Everyone – women and men! — are invited to join us for a conversation with area women about the challenges women face in the sciences and hurdles they encounter in reaching the upper echelons of the science world. Stay for fun, hands-on science activities inspired by women scientists from throughout history. A free and unticketed event. Cash bar will be available.

Activities sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha

Here:Say Storytelling presents: ROAR!

MAR 20 / 7:30 PM
Midland Center for the Arts Saints and Sinners Lounge

Here:Say Storytelling and the Midland Center for the Arts present ROAR! Invited local performers will tell true, first-person stories about trying to change the world, or their own corner of it, by embracing the anthem “I am woman, hear me roar!” This live storytelling event will be staged in March to coincide with Women’s History Month.

Here:Say Storytelling is an organization based in Traverse City. Here:Say stages monthly theme-based storytelling shows at Workshop Brewing Company and consults on special shows and programs with organizations throughout Michigan.A free and unticketed event. Cash bar will be available.

Series Partners

2019-20 Perspectives Series Advisory Committee

Adrienne Bowman-Grittini
Amy Beasley
Amy Denay
Amy McDonald, LPC, CST
Ashley Stoddard
Chey Davis, Faculty and Inclusion consultant, Delta College
Dominique Clement
Elizabeth Kastanya
Emily Korn
Emmy Mills
Katrina Wrobel
Lena Kamaleddine
Tangie Neal
Tiffany Torrain, President of Jack and Jill International, Great Lakes Bay Region Chapter
Octavia Walters Cabey