Kamryn Phillips, 11, and her aunt Lynn Witte look at jewelry from the Spare Parts booth. The free event at Lourdes University is part of its celebration of National Women’s History Month and recognizes women in the visual and performing arts through a juried show and sale.
An overwhelmingly female crowd packed the Franciscan Center at Lourdes University on Saturday for the seventh annual Women, Artists, Visionaries, Entrepreneurs Festival.
“Everybody seems to have enjoyed it,” Marisol Strelow, a committee member for the event, said. “It’s grown from last year.”
Created as a way to celebrate the successes and accomplishments of women throughout the region, WAVE is a juried indoor exhibition and sale of fine arts and crafts, such as ceramics, fiber arts, jewelry, pottery, and paintings.
All of the vendors are female-owned businesses, Ms. Strelow said.
This year’s festival featured 72 exhibitors and live entertainment, including local female groups Bliss and Someone’s Daughter. Organizers had passed out all of the 300 preprinted brochures to vendors and attendees in just two hours and hurried to print and fold more for the remaining three hours.
“It’s packed,” Ms. Strelow said. “It’s going great.”
Toledoan Deb Dickerson plays drums for the band Someone’s Daughter, one of several female groups entertaining at WAVE.
Bethany House, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence and a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, which also started the university, is this year’s beneficiary of some of the funds raised through the festival.
“This is the first time we’ve partnered with a charity that is also sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis,” Ms. Strelow said. “It was just a good fit.”
The funding raised for Bethany House will be used directly for the benefit of the families the charity serves.
“We’re unique in the sense of shelters in that our shelter actually has separate apartments,” case aide Timika Colbert said. “We provide all of their basic needs.”
Ms. Colbert said clients, many of them women, typically spend a year to 18 months in the shelter.
“We assist them in helping to find permanent housing, employment, and whatever other services we can link them up with to help them become self-sufficient,” she said.
Bethany House had a table at the event, passing out information about the organization and its services.
Ms. Colbert said vendors had donated items for the shelter’s women, and attendees were asking how they could help.
“I had a person come up and say that she was in the shelter 20 years ago and that it really helped her and her children,” Ms. Colbert said.
A painting by Carole Williams is seen for sale at the WAVE event at the Franciscan Center. The show was 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Gina Mercurio, owner of People Called Women, a feminist bookstore in Toledo, has been a vendor at WAVE for the last four or five years.
“I love this event,” she said. “It’s a wonderful atmosphere.”
Ms. Mercurio said she would like to see more women-centered events in the Toledo area to further promote and educate the public about women’s issues.
“Women still earn 77 cents to the dollar that men do for the same work,” she said. “Anything we can do to help out women is great.”
Quotations meant to empower women were affixed to the walls, and an “honor wall” allowed attendees to add their thoughts to the mix to celebrate women in their lives.
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