New art collective empowers female artists

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

There’s a little art in everyone, and Aspiring Female Artists of Sandpoint is committed to bringing it out.

The female artist collective is centered around the conviction that no matter who you are and what you do, if you have the passion to create, you are an artist. According to collective organizer Cherie Coldwell, the group’s fundamental purpose is to empower women to own their status as artists and take pride in their creations.

“We’re just trying to get the word out letting women know … if they want to be able to think of themselves as artists, this is one way to do that, because so many who make art don’t think that,” she said.

Aspiring Female Artists of Sandpoint isn’t just a way for the area’s most creative women to discuss and share their work with one another. It’s also a pathway toward showcasing work to the public. According to Coldwell, the group intends to coordinate public showings of members’ work. In fact, the first is scheduled to take place May 2 at Pend d’Oreille Winery, which will double as the inaugural event for the artist collective.

It took some serious planning and preparation to get ready for the collective’s first major event. The idea first came about through Coldwell’s discussions with several friends. It was only then she realized how many artistically-inclined women were quietly practicing their craft in the community.

“So many women were just creating art at home without ever showing it to anyone,” she said.

Throughout a series of meetings, the basic idea for Aspiring Female Artists of Sandpoint came together. And along with it came the first wave of members. The group grew to the point where members could plan a gallery of their own, and Pend Oreille Arts Council officials lent their expertise to make that happen.

“POAC helped get everything off the ground,” Coldwell said. “They helped us put together a more professional setting and present ourselves in the best possible way to the community.”

It’s the first event that Coldwell believes could lead to a world of possibilities for local female artists taking their first steps toward displaying their work. Depending on the level of interest from potential members and support from the community, it could even lead to a brick-and-mortar gallery some time in the future.

For now, however, Coldwell and the first Aspiring Female Artists of Sandpoint members are aspiring to create an art market to take place from May to September the first Saturday of every month at MickDuff’s Beer Hall. The idea is to run from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. and attract shoppers already out for the Sandpoint Farmer’s Market.

For female artists interested in joining the collective, there’s still time to potentially participate in the Pend d’Oreille Winery event. Simply reach out to Coldwell at [email protected] before April 15.

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