FARMINGTON – The 18th annual Nordica Celebration of Women in the Arts will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 25, in Nordica Auditorium, University of Maine at Farmington. The show will be followed by a reception. Admission is free, although donations will be accepted at the door.

Nearly 30 Maine artists will participate, including actors, singers, poets, musicians and visual artists.

“What makes Nordica’ a special event is that it not only celebrates National Women’s History Month, but its focus gives community members, students and faculty a chance to honor women artists by performing their own magical dances, songs, stories and visual art,” said Gretchen Legler, UMF associate professor of creative writing and the event’s artistic director for the third year.

Each year the Nordica committee creates a theme that holds the performances together. “This year, we’ve chosen Rooted and Restless,’ which gives voice to the conflicting feelings we have in our personal, social, imaginative, political and intellectual lives,” said Legler.

Performances will include a dramatic scene by UMF alumni Mandi Favreau and Zak Cates from Jayne Decker’s original drama, “Songbird.” In the drama, Decker, an accomplished playwright who teaches theater at UMF, tells the stories of regular men and women who have been called to duty in Iraq.

Also performing will be local folk musician Ruth Hill, who will sing with Jessica Campbell, UMF student, and Julia Daly, UMF assistant professor of geology.

Angela Coulombe, a visual artist, will present a digital video collage that explores themes of restlessness, unease, compulsion and manic behavior in surreal settings.

The Old South Drummers, a group of nine women, will perform a tambourine processional rooted in women’s ancient drumming rituals, and Emily Wittenhagen, UMF creative writing major, will read her poem titled “Restless.”

“We felt that Rooted and Restless’ spoke to the sense that many of us have after 9/11, and after natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq, civil wars, famine, environmental crises – that we are restless, wanting to move, wanting to do something to create change – maybe even wanting to create art that might in turn create change,” said Legler.

“The rootedness part of the theme might suggest the ways in which we go back to our roots,” said Legler, “the roots of values, justice, kindness and our artistic heritage.”

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