Women of Substance Festival 2017

Be the Change

March 31-April 8, 2017

You’re invited to take a journey or two, or more, with Be the Change, the second annual Women of Substance Festival bringing art, ideas and conversation to St. Catherine University. Inspiring women to make a difference in their communities, this campus celebration features artists, thinkers and change-makers who challenge the status quo, encourage you to look at the world in new ways, and instill a deeper understanding of self, purpose, and action.

Highlights of this year’s festival include two exceptional artists with Minnesota roots: Lizzo, a celebrated alternative hip-hop star, and Sharon Isbin, one of the world’s greatest classical guitar virtuosi. Each have brought ground-breaking change to their male-dominated fields.

For 20 years, the Women of Substance series has showcased women’s ideas, amplified their voices and honored their places on life’s stage. Through art and ideas, the series ignites women’s innate power, consciousness and sense of justice, motivating and inspiring others to take action and lead lives of substance. The Women of Substance Festival magnifies the mission, values and spirit of St. Catherine’s University.

Click here for a comprehensive downloadable festival brochure.

Here’s this year’s WoS celebration line-up:

Date Time & Location Description
March 31 Fri | 12 p.m.
Center for Women, Coeur de Catherine
Room 230
Social Science Teach-in Lunch Bag Discussion
Explore shifts in policy and the implications of a Trump administration on issues of access, equity, and opportunity with race/ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, age and ability with presenters Sharon Doherty, Caroline Krafft and Deep Shikah.
Mar 31 Fri | 3 p.m.
McNally Smith College 
of Music, Room 70
 Sharon Isbin Master Class 

Join us as Grammy Award-winning Sharon Isbin teaches classical guitar techniques and discusses her rise to fame in a male-dominated field. The McNally Smith Classical Guitar Quartet and students will perform, followed by Q & A with Ms. Isbin.

Mar 31 Fri | 7 p.m.
Ticketed | $15
Free with student ID
Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, 
Whitby Hall
Poetry as a Conversation for Something Better: A Reading by Naomi Shihab Nye and Ibtisam Barakat
Award-winning Palestinian-American author and poet Naomi Shihab Nye closes her Wisdom Ways residence with a reading, book-signing, and dialogue to reflect on the importance of poetry and literature and its power to help us imagine — and grow — into a better world.
Mar 31 Fri | 7:30 p.m.
Ticketed | $20-$35
The O’Shaughnessy

Lizzo in Concert

lizzo_893_vendini.jpgBe inspired and celebrate female empowerment with the vivacious hip-hop artist, Lizzo, along with special guests Dizzy Fae and DJ Sophia Eris. 

April 2 Sun | 2 p.m.
Ticketed | $25-45
The O’Shaughnessy

Sharon Isbin & Isabel Leonard – Music from Spain 

Spend an afternoon of musical magic with Sharon Isbin, one of the foremost interpreters of Spanish guitar music and mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, whose expressive intensity, impeccable technique and charisma have been cited by critics around the world. Together, these Grammy-winning musicians offer a special, intimate recital that has thrilled audiences nationwide.

April 3 Mon | 6:30 p.m.
Ticketed | $25
Wisdom Ways
Hedgerow Initiative – Women and Christianity: Resilient Women, Emergent Church
Join creative and resilient women who wrestle with today’s Gospel message and ponder what the Reformation asks of us in its 500th anniversary year, who seek the holy in a world where many label themselves as secular, and who dare to re-imagine women’s leadership in our churches.
April 4 Tues | 6:30 p.m. 
Free, refreshments included
Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium
Very Young Girls documentary viewing

Learn about commercial sexual exploitation and how to take a stand against this injustice, in a film produced by anti-trafficking expert Rachel Lloyd, the 2017 Bonnie Jean Kelly & Joan Kelly Distinguished Scholar.

April 5 Wed | 7 p.m.
Ticketed | Free with reservation
The O’Shaughnessy

Bonnie Jean Kelly & Joan Kelly Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture 
featuring Rachel Lloyd 


Engage in eliminating the commercial sexual exploitation of young women. Rachel Lloyd, author and founder of Girls Educational Mentoring Service (GEMS), who leads and influences the global conversation around sex trafficking, will be at St. Catherine for an evening of conversation and taking action

April 6 Thurs | 7 p.m.
Ticketed | $20
Wisdom Ways

From The Heart As It Is: A Spring Harvest of Poems and Songs

Explore how personal journeys can transform words and musical notes into ways that contribute to understanding our vast, shared world. This special evening features local poets Angela Shannon, Laura Mackenzie, Sharon Chmielarza and Michael Dennis Browne. 

April 7 Fri | 7:30 p.m. 
Recital Hall
Music Building

Bad A$$ Women Writers

Join the Department of English for an evening of poetry, in conversation with Sun Yung Shin, author of Minnesota Book Award nominated Unbearable Splendor, and Minneapolis poet and writer, Andrea Jenkins.

April 8 Sat | 6–8 p.m.
Catherine G. Murphy Gallery
Visual Arts Building
Still | Tension – Opening Night Reception
Artists: Elizabeth Cleary, Cassi Henning, Felicia Hamann, & PaJai Vang

Dates: April 8–May 21

The annual Senior Juried Exhibition showcases the talent of St. Catherine University’s graduating studio art and art education majors. This year, four emerging artists designed final capstone projects that push them artistically and intellectually, using a variety of mediums and techniques.  

The Catherine G. Murphy Gallery, Jeanne d’Arc Auditorium, Recital Hall and The O’Shaughnessy are located on the campus of St. Catherine University. Wisdom Ways is located in Carondelet Center, at 1890 Randolph Ave., Saint Paul. McNally Smith College of Music is located at 19 E. Exchange St., Saint Paul.

WoS FEST is supported by The O’Shaughnessy, Saint Catherine University, The Bonnie Jean and the Joan Kelly Distinguished Visiting Scholar fund. Additional support is provided by The Saint Paul Foundation and Wisdom Ways, Art Works of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Minnesota State Arts Board.