The Athena Project has an inspiring effect on the people and artists who get involved with the annual festival. Just ask Dominique Flores, the events coordinator with Athena. “I started as an …
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The Athena Project has an inspiring effect on the people and artists who get involved with the annual festival.
Just ask Dominique Flores, the events coordinator with Athena.
“I started as an actress, but now in this role, I help to feed and help the artists with whatever they need,” she said. “I’m now also a mentor in our Girls Create Program, where I get to work with the next generation of women creators.”
SuCh, a Denver-based soul singer, who first performed as part of the festival in 2014, has also taken on new challenges since then.
“This year, I’m going to be a part of Cross Pollinations, where I’ll be paired with another artist I’ve never met before, and we’ll have 12 hours to present a new work of art,” she said. “You can’t really plan for it, and that’s really exciting.”
Since its creation in 2012, the Athena Project has not only focused on celebrating and making spaces for artistic women in the metro area, but it also has encouraged these performers to grow and tackle new challenges, styles and mediums.
“The original goal was to celebrate women artists, especially because women are so underrepresented in the arts world,” said Angela Astle, Athena Project’s founder and executive producer. “A lot of people don’t think it’s that way, because they see women performers a lot. But behind the scenes, it’s not that way. So we wanted to create a space where women can share their stories.”
This year’s festival runs from March 3-31 and features the artistic talents of women and girls in theatre, dance and music. Events include a weekend of music at Swallow Hill, the music production and concert venue organization; world dance, the Girls Create Celebration, Plays In Progress Series, panel discussions and workshops.
“This year, we wanted our programming to be more rounded out, and to offer more for audiences,” Astle said. “Our goal with each discipline is to fill a niche and expand what we can do in the discipline.”
The Cross Pollinations program is new this year. As SuCh explained, it will feature a musician paired with a playwright, dancer, visual artist or spoken word artist, and at the end of 12 hours each pair will present a live original work of art around the theme of Fierce Women Thriving.
Other highlights from the month include an open mic night for female singers and songwriters, a concert headlined by Megan Burtt, who was named the 2015 Best Singer/Songwriter by the Westword Music Awards and has toured nationally and abroad with acts like Gregory Alan Isakov, Mark Cohen, and Lissie, and emerging artist Nina de Freitas, a Brazilian-born musician and daughter of Academy Award nominee Carlinhos Brown.
And all ages get in on the creativity, with a showcase of plays created by middle school girls during the project’s Girls Create summer camp.
This gives these students a chance to see their work as a live performance with actors on stage and a director. On the same day, the girls who participated in the fashion design and visual arts camps will have their creations highlighted in a runway style fashion show and gallery show.
“It’s so amazing to see what these young girls are able to come up with, and the stories they’re able to tell,” said Flores, who will work with these young creators. “We want these girls to know they can do anything.”
Flores and SuCh encourage people to attend events on multiple weekends, especially since there will be such a variety throughout the month. Children and students are particularly encouraged to see what Athena has to offer.
“I didn’t go into music until I was an adult, even though I always knew music was my thing,” SuCh said. “Who knows? If I had been exposed to more music and art earlier, I might’ve started younger.”
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