To honor the resilience of millions of women survivors of war around the world, Women for Women International will host a global campaign, “Join Me On the Bridge,” on International Women’s Day – Monday, March 8.

Sarah Schmalenberger, Music Department, and other women in the arts at St. Thomas are hosting a local gathering for this day – from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. March 8 on the Grotto bridge, south campus – under the theme “Women: the Finest of the Arts.” This year’s global topic inspired Schmalenberger to consider “how the arts often proclaim the beauty of women, often in the face of unspeakable ugliness they endure in war and poverty.”

“Everyone is welcome to participate in this gathering, to celebrate and reflect upon the sisters we may never meet, to honor and cherish the artistry of their being,” Schmalenberger commented.

Register here to RSVP for the gathering. E-mail Schmalenberger for more information.

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Schmalenberger adds:

Why arts?

As women artists, we develop unique perspectives on beauty. We often behold and proclaim the beauty of women even as we suffer the ugliest of circumstances. Resilience, resistance, rebellion – all of these themes are expressed through the arts. These themes are very real and practical survival skills in places such as the Congo. “Meet Me On the Bridge” offers us a time to reflect on the global community of women and, even if it is purely symbolic, reach out to sisters we may never meet and cherish the artistry of their being.

Why the Grotto bridge?

I selected a bridge most people don’t even notice … the one in the Grotto behind Brady Educational Center and Ireland Memorial Library. Whereas many groups across the nation and elsewhere will meet at larger and certainly more visible bridges, this little stone bridge tucked away on our campus can help us consider how the smallest bridge to connect with others can facilitate change. A simple walk across a short distance – a stream, a street, an aisle in the grocery, a school hallway – has the potential to bridge gaps of understanding in our own neighborhoods.

Who is invited?

UST students, faculty and staff – anyone interested in gathering to consider “Women: the Finest of the Arts” in the context of the suffering caused by war and poverty. Feel free to forward an invitation to others.

What will we do?

There is no agenda for a formal program; however, Conie Borchardt, Music Department, has suggested a couple songs, and I have a simple activity for finding our collective “sound” of support. If someone wishes to read, sing, dance, etc., then by all means let me know. Surely all of our collective creativity will shape the gathering’s activities and flow. Give me suggestions: Send me an e-mail or call, (651) 962-5851.