Wednesday, 10 April 2024 07:22

MICAfest Art for Change Explores New Dimensions of M/otherhood Through Creativity

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Discover a groundbreaking exploration of motherhood as Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA) unveils MICAfest Art for Change: The M/others' View from May 1-31, 2024. With over 80 m/other artists spanning visual arts, performance, and literature, this month-long festival promises to dissect the intricacies of motherhood, igniting conversations and reshaping societal norms. Transforming the cityscape into a canvas of creativity, MICAfest transcends conventional boundaries, inviting audiences to delve into themes like Beyond the Ideal, Unseen Stories, and Beyond Biology.

In a realm where gender stereotypes still loom large, MICAfest stands as a beacon of change, amplifying the voices of m/other artists and dismantling barriers that hinder their recognition. From childcare woes to entrenched biases, MICA embraces the challenges head-on, spotlighting m/other artists and providing a platform for their narratives to thrive.

As Lyza Fennell, MICA's visionary founder and managing director, emphasizes, "MICAfest isn't just an art showcase; it's a vibrant space where m/other artists reclaim their stories and ignite crucial conversations about motherhood and social transformation."

Major Themes Across the Festival 


The Perfect Mother 

Several artists confront postpartum depression, anxiety, and the overwhelming mental load of motherhood. In her installation, Catherine LeComte-Lecce explores the under-researched impact of postpartum anxiety and depression on the brain. Artists confront joyful and difficult emotions and the complexities and pressures of societal expectations.

Karin Trachtenberg's one-woman show My Mother Had Two Faces exposes the struggles hidden beneath the facade of the perfect mother.

"My Mother Had Two Faces" by Karin Trachtenberg.
Reflections on Beauty, Aging and Acceptance. Promo poster. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ellen Wetmore's sculptures and films confront societal expectations of mothering: "Pregnancy is terrifying, even life-threatening, and Motherhood is a leap into the unknown future, but it is not socially acceptable for mothers to ruminate on this."

"Melt" by Ellen Wetmore.
A sculpture of a woman's profile in a birthing position. Her abdomen appears melted, evoking a sense of fear and loss. Image courtesy of the artist.

Ellen Wetmore:

"Pregnancy is terrifying, even life-threatening, and Motherhood is a leap into the unknown future, but it is not socially acceptable for mothers to ruminate on this."


In "Articles of Comfort: Holding Grief," Eva Pushkova's tufted wool rug collection represents the lived experience of grief, embodying the search for resilience, comfort, and hope with the rich colors and warm, plush pile.

“Beacon View” by Eva Pushkova.
A tufted wool rug, with circles as part of “Articles of Comfort: Holding Grief.” Image courtesy of the artist.


Identity & Reclamation 


Belly, by Haile Eshe Cole, is an intergenerational love voyage of back womanhood and motherhood that transpires through word, song, and dance.

Haile Eshe Cole, PhD. a reading of her play, "Belly,"
through the mediums of word, song and dance. Image courtesy of the artist

Mary Warren Foulk's Erasures of My Coming Out (Letter) explores identity suppression and marginalized narratives, using the concept of 'erasure' to resist silencing and reclaim power.  

Kelly Silliman's Miss Treated is a solo dance theatre piece exploring gender, power, and medical mistreatment, created in collaboration with Melissa Edwards. It shines a light on the all-too-common experience of being misheard, misdiagnosed, and mistreated by professionals who are supposed to help.


Social Justice Through Art


The festival also addresses social and cultural challenges. Esther S. White's work tackles the surveillance and judgment mothers face in public, while Helen Ellis confronts the struggles of incarcerated mothers and their children. These works urge viewers to question societal norms and advocate for change.

"Visiting Day" by Hellen Ellis.
A figurative painting showing incarcerated mothers and their children,
emphasizing the complex emotions of separation and connection.
Image courtesy of the artist.

This process of reclaiming stories and subverting expectations extends beyond the singular narrative of m/otherhood. MICAfest artists confront the erasures in the romanticized "motherhood myth" with the intersections of gender, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ populations, and communities rendered invisible.


The MICAfest Opportunity


MICAfest offers a vibrant artistic experience throughout Northampton. Explore visual exhibitions at Northampton Center for the Arts,, and Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity.

Enjoy dynamic performances at Anchor House of Artists and Northampton Center for the Arts, including M/otherhood in Motion: Dance and Theatre, Perfect Imperfections Behind the Facade: an Evening at the Theatre, and The Mom-ologues: Unfiltered Stories & Music Jam. Mother's Day will be celebrated with poetry and The Lark Jazz Trio for a special art bash at Spill the Tea Sis Apothecary.  


Exhibition Organization and Support 

This exhibition is organized by Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA) in Northampton, MA. MICAfest 2024 is made possible with generous support from:

  • The City of Northampton ARPA Community Recovery Grant (For a statement of support, please contact Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • Northampton Arts Council
  • Amherst Cultural Council
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Northampton Center for the Arts, Anchor House of Artists, Bombyx Center for Arts and Equity, Spill the Tea Sis Apothecary, along with Loculus Collective, The Institute for Musical Arts, Ko Fest of Performance, Hilltown Families, and Hillary Lynn Photography. 

To support MICAfest and its mission, please consider a donation or explore sponsorship opportunities on MICA's Giving page.


Tickets to MICAfest

Ten VIP Tickets to MICAfest are now on sale. Month-long passes and single-event tickets go on sale on April 1st. Join MICAfest for this groundbreaking event, a platform where the truth of m/otherhood and the voices of underrepresented artists collide.

Visit for the full artist roster, performance schedule, and event locations.


MICAfest: The M/otherlode Closing Gala

Celebrate the culmination of MICAfest in style! Join MICAfest for a festive evening of arts, community, and live music at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Experience the artistry of mother creators and savor a delightful evening of connections, conversation, and inspiration.

Featured Artist: Christa Joy

Christa Joy and The Honeybees, band picture. Image courtesy of the artist.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant Americana sounds of Christa Joy and the Honeybees. Their music blends classic honky-tonk with soulful ballads, creating a captivating soundtrack for this celebratory evening. Get ready to tap your toes and feel the energy as you experience their critically acclaimed album “Get On, Heart!” and a sneak peek at their upcoming work.

  • More Festive Surprises The evening will also feature:
  • An engaging artist conversation exploring the themes of MICAfest.
  • Delectable hors d’oeuvres and cocktails to fuel the celebration.
  • Reflect on the highlights of MICAfest and honor the celebrated m/other artists 

About Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA)

Founded in 2022 by Lyza Fennell, Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA) is a mother-led organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of m/other artists and advocating for their inclusion in the arts landscape. MICA creates opportunities for collaboration, artistic showcasing, and professional support through exhibitions, festivals, and community-focused events.

MICA aims to develop sustainable programming that addresses the systemic barriers m/other artists face, empowering them to thrive creatively and professionally. MICA is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, a New York-based nonprofit devoted to helping artists and arts organizations by providing fundraising tools, educational resources, and support.



Read 197 times Last modified on Saturday, 27 April 2024 05:38
Yuliya Suleymanova

About Yuliya Suleymanova:

Yuliya Suleymanova is Suley Era co-founder, editor, and a top contributor for Fashion World and Culture Land sections.

Yuliya is a Doctorate Candidate in Organizational Leadership. Professor. Marketing & Consumer Behavior Researcher. Public Speaker & Media personality.


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