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Monday, February 19, 2018

The Sanctuary Show

Sisters, oil and gold leaf, five 7x5 inch canvas panels, by Bridget Bossart van Otterloo
Remember the beginning of this piece from last winter? Inspired by the Women's March back in January of 2017, I wrote about her start in a post called "Postcards from the Past". My finished artwork, Sisters, was accepted into the juried Sanctuary Show along with work by 35 artists. 
The Sanctuary Show is on exhibit now through April 6, 2018 at the Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery, ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, 79 West Market Street, in Corning, NY.

I hope you'll join us for an Opening Reception during Corning's Urban Arts Crawl - Friday, February 23, 5- 8pm.

Sisters was inspired by a visit to Seneca Falls last January for the Women's March. The portraits of these five women were painted from postcards that I picked up at the Women's Hall of Fame. From left to right they are: Lucretia Coffin Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Caroline Parker (Seneca), Jane Clothier Master Hunt, and Mary Ann M'Clintock. These women helped to plan the First Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls in 1848. They drafted the Declaration of Sentiments stating “all men and women are created equal”. The Women's movement was inspired by the Haudenosaunee women living in Western New York and their systems of gender equality.
The design in gold leaf connecting all these women is the Wampum Belt of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Iroquois Confederacy Wampum Belt
This belt symbolizes the five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy: Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk.
The third layer of symbolism incorporates the White Pine at a different life cycles on each panel. For the Haudenosaunee, the white pine is the tree of peace. The Central Onogaga Nation is represented by the Great White Pine tree in the Wampum Belt design.
Native Americans inspired the women of Western New York towards change, and forming the nation of the United States into what it is today. Our values of peace, equality and acceptance can be traced back to their influence. 

The Sanctuary Show seeks to capture the grace and humanity that sanctuaries highlight, revealing the very best of our communities - the unwillingness to live in fear of the other, the unwillingness to give in to hate-fueled political or ideological bigotry, and the unwillingness to close our doors to those who most need safety and protection.

Thirty-five regional artists explore this notion through a variety of responses across a diversity of mediums and techniques including painting, photography, pate de verre, ceramics, fiber art, and more.

The Sanctuary Show Programming

Sanctuary Speakers Panel

How are the themes expressed in the artistic works of The Sanctuary Show experienced in life by people in our community? Join us Tuesday, March 13 at 6pm for the Sanctuary Speakers panel in the Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery at The ARTS Council. We will hear from the life experiences of people who have sought political sanctuary, who have built religious sanctuaries, and who maintain the resources and community connections that make our region a sanctuary for immigrants and refugees today.

pARTner Up: Using the Creative Process to Explore Sanctuary

What would it be like to move to a new country and not speak the language? How about leaving your friends behind or not being able to eat the food you're used to eating? These are some of the questions we will explore during pARTner Up: Using the Creative Process to Explore Immigration, Refugees, and Sanctuary. Visual artist Filomena Jack and poet Michael Czarnecki will lead participants through the concept of seeking sanctuary in a new place. Join us Saturday, March 24 from 1-2:30pm at the Chemung County Historical Society for this unique family program, free and open to the public.

Evelyn Peeler Peacock Gallery at The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes


  1. Beautiful Bridget. What a tribute! Thank you for sharing what you have learned about these beautiful people.