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ArtsAltoona to host Women’s Equality Day event

Weekend includes speakers, film screening, vendors

Mirror photo by Cati Keith Artist Pam Snyder-Etters hangs her artwork for display at the Women’s Equality Day event as Patti Meintel, Leah Klevan and Kathrine Muller of ArtsAltoona advise her on the placement.

More than 100 years after women achieved the right to vote, women are still working toward full equality in all aspects of society, said Kathrine Muller, a board member of ArtsAltoona.

To celebrate women and to commemorate the day the 19th Amendment was certified on Aug. 26, 1920, ArtsAltoona is hosting Women’s Equality Day events Aug. 26-27 at its 2212 Sixth Ave. location.

“At a time when our voting rights and individual rights are being threatened, it is more important than ever to rally together, become informed and take action,” Muller said.

Events will kick-off Friday, Aug. 26, with a wine and cheese reception recognizing the female judges of Blair County.

President Judge Elizabeth A. Doyle, Judge Jackie Atherton Bernard, Judge Illisa Zimmerman, retired Judge Jolene Grubb Kopriva and Magisterial District Judge Paula M. Aigner will share their stories, successes and challenges in a discussion format.

Doyle said it’s a great opportunity to recognize women achieving the right to vote.

“People think it is in the dark ages, but my own grandmother was 20 before she could vote,” she said.

The judge wants to be an example to young girls who might feel they can’t do something because of their gender.

“They might think that they can’t do it, but I’m a judge, so they can too,” Doyle said.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, the locally developed film, “Grit and Grace,” will be shown.

The film was first performed as a live show to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

It was written and produced by Altoona native Muller and depicts the highlights of the 72-year suffrage journey through articles, letters and conversations of the women who lived through it.

Songs from various points in history are performed by the local group, Simply Grace.

Saturday’s events include a catered lunch and vendors.

Four speakers will also take the podium, including Harriett Gaston of Penn State Altoona, who hopes attendees will realize the importance of Women’s Equality Day and remember the efforts made by women over the years.

She will speak about the impact the National Association of Colored Women’s Club has had on Black women’s clubs in Blair County.

“There were many African American women’s clubs that were also involved in the suffrage, so I’m going to talk about them and their impact on the area,” she said.

Other speakers are the Rev. Evelyn Madison of Trinity United Methodist Church, who will focus her talk on women in the clergy. Kathleen Eberhardt will discuss non-traditional careers for women, while Julia Schokker of the Blair County Historical Society will present information on 200 years of pioneeers for women in the county.

Madison said women in the ministry is not new but might be a newer concept for some.

“I want to encourage women to follow their dreams and callings,” she said. “There are no doors closed to women, whether it is in the ministry or any other career, there are many options available.”

Musicians Mandy Passamore Ott, Lucy Nickerson and Michelle Barnes, along with artists Pam Snyder-Etters and Billie Hollen will be on hand during the event.

Tickets are $35 for both days or $25 for Saturday only. Student tickets are $10.

Tickets can be purchased at the ArtsAltoona building or online by emailing lklevan@artsaltoona.org.

“We are hoping for a great turnout so that we can recognize and appreciate the outstanding women in our community,” Muller added.

Mirror Staff writer Cati Keith can be reached at 814-946-7535.

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