Women Speak

Portraits, Poetry and Prose of the Feminine Experience


In honor of International Women’s Day 2019, Frank Community Gallery of Chapel Hill hosted Women Speak, a celebration of women giving voice to the feminine experience through portraits, poetry and prose. The three-day event included a display of works by artist Nancy L. Smith and written works by 21 poets. Highlights of the event were an artist reception and a poetry reading of 8 special guests reading their response to Smith’s work.  Over the course of 3 days more than 400 people attended this event.



During 2018, Smith invited women from all over the world to respond to the art works that were on display. Once a month for six months, Smith released four or five images of her works and invited written responses of 300 words or less. During this period, Smith received over 300 submissions from 100 women living in nine different countries. From these, Smith and a panel of judges selected 30 winners.


Inspiration for this event came from Smith’s body of work based on exploration of the female form. “During my creative process I discovered my paintings were giving voice to my unconscious inner landscape. They spoke of a wide range of my experiences including peace, loss, angst about prescribed roles and determination to be myself. I invited women writers to join me in the complex exploration of what it means to be a woman today. Women had a lot to say and said it beautifully.”

Writers’ topics covered a wide range including inspirational muses, relationships with themselves and others, migraines and mastectomies, lost loves and loved ones, changing roles, mistreatment of women and the state of our country. Order the book here.

The Orange County Arts Commission sponsored this event.

Frank Community Gallery

201 Estes Dr.

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


A portion of all sales were donated to the Compass Center of Chapel Hill to help women and families navigate their journey to self-sufficiency, safety, and health.