By Shelby Clark Petkus
The 29th Annual Women in the Arts Festival brings its two-day community festival to East Lansing this November. Known for its celebration of regional women artists, the event will run Nov. 14-15 and feature iconic songwriter Cris Williamson. Williamson will perform at 8 p.m. on the Friday Night Stage, in addition to hosting a workshop on Saturday.
Williamson has been influential in the indie music scene since her first album in 1975, “The Changer and the Changed.” She recorded the album on her own Olivia Records, the first woman-owned, woman-focused recording company. As a result of the former schoolteacher’s musical contributions, the genre of “women’s music” was born. “The Changer and the Changed” is currently still one of the best-selling independent releases of all time. With her 30-plus full albums of music, Williamson – once described as “hearing honey dripped on a cello” by Bonnie Raitt – will bring songs from her 2013 release “Pray Tell: Songs of the Soul.” She’ll also host a Saturday workshop.
Other workshops, held throughout the day beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, include “Abolishing Negative Self-Talk and Creating Self-Love,” “Out of the Box and Into the Moment; One Family’s Journey,” “Introduction to Shamanism: Path of Empowerment and Healing,” and more.
Other performers include songwriter Abigail Stauffer, all-girl string band Nobody’s Darlin, Sistrum: Lansing Women’s Chorus and a story hour. The story hour, billed as “personal herstory that has never been so entertaining,” features Laurie Hollinger, Tari Muniz and their friends sharing off-the-cuff storytelling.
The festival also offers a huge artist market, hosting 30 booths of women-created and -inspired art. Local works and services for sale include paintings, photography, jewelry, clothing, sculpture, pottery, knitted items, edible treats, books, music and even massages. The market will run from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday.
An open mic, delicious food from the Sistrum Cafe, film screenings and a silent auction round out the festival roster of events.
The 29th Annual Women in the Arts Festival will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 14 and 9 a.m. Nov. 15, with stage performances running from 1-6 p.m. The festival will be held at Edgewood United Church, 469 N. Hagadorn, East Lansing. Tickets range from $5-20. For more information, visit http://www.witafestival.com.