On January 21, 2017, millions of people around the world gathered for the first-ever Women’s March—the largest coordinated rally in U.S. history. Inspired by this movement—and by its unofficial color—more than 40 Colorado artists are coming together for Pink Progression, a three-part exhibition that will showcase artwork that highlights the way social interactions are affected by gender.
“After the presidential election in 2017, I started a 100-day Facebook series, posting photos of incredible women throughout history,” says Anna Kaye, the local artist who began Pink Progression. “People seemed to have a strong response to this, and after the 100 days was up, I felt like there was more to be done.”
Kaye started reaching out to several of her artist friends, and the idea for the Pink Progression series quickly formed. The triage of exhibits, which will be on display at the Boulder Public Library, the Denver Public Library, and the Center for Visual Art, will feature everything from oil paintings and iron sculptures to quilts and ceramics. The only requirement? That artists incorporate the color pink, which has become a strong visual element during the Women’s March, as a celebration of unity and empowerment.
Participating artists at each venue will vary slightly, and recurring artists will present unique artwork at each exhibit. Kaye has already created her pieces for the Boulder and Denver Public Library shows, and is still deciding on her piece for the display at the Center for Visual Art. “For one show, I created a colored pencil drawing with pink glitter,” says Kaye, “which I will turn into an interactive exhibit by giving out packets of the glitter to visitors.” For the second exhibit, Kaye made a watercolor canvas of a native rose from Colorado called “Rosa Woodsii.” There will also be collaborative drawings available for purchase. Twenty-two artists from the show have created mixed-media artwork together, which can be purchased for $1,800. Two-hundred dollars will go toward framing, while the remaining $1,600 will be donated to a nonprofit selected by the buyer from a list of the artists’ preferred organizations.
In addition to the displayed art, Pink Progression will also host artist lectures and special features during each exhibit. For example, the event at the Center for Visual Art will feature a collection of postcards—similar to the protest posters created for the Women’s Marches—that are submitted by local individuals and will be displayed at the exhibit’s entrance. “I want to keep the design open,” Kaye says. “[I’m] asking people to include a wish for the future of women and human rights and a picture that represents that idea.” (Find out more and learn how to craft your own postcard here.)
At the Denver Public Library event, the Western History and Genealogy Department will share stories of several women who participated in the Women’s March on Denver in 2017, highlighting some of the issues that our local protest focused on, including equal pay and immigrant rights. The photos that will be on display are part of the library’s Women’s March on Denver Collection.
Additionally, Pink Progression is putting together two books inspired by the postcards and writings Kaye has received so far. The first is called Words: Resist and Persist, a collection of poetry and comic art on women’s issues, put together by 13 local writers, which will be available for purchase with a portion donated to a selected nonprofit. The second is a book with images of all the postcards. “There are so many incredible artists in these exhibitions, each with unique views on gender roles,” says Kaye. “My goal is to create a platform for them to share their ideas.”
If you go: Pink Progression will take place at three locations: February 16 to March 24 at the Boulder Public Library; March 2 to June 29 at the Denver Public Library; and May 31 to August 19 at the Center for Visual Art at MSU Denver. Admission is free.