I Am More Than My Hair
On Exhibit: March 19 – September 5, 2021
I am More Than My Hair, a collection of twenty, three-dimensional tactile portraits by creator Alyscia Cunningham will be exhibited at Sandy Spring Museum. The exhibit, which is accessible to visitors with hearing and vision loss, asks the viewer to reconsider his or her idea of feminine beauty and adornment.
About the Exhibit
I Am More Than My Hair began with Alyscia Cunningham’s eponymous book and film in which she advances the dialogue around the beauty standard of female baldness and captures the stories of girls and women who have lost their hair due to medical conditions or by choice. “If you look towards the media to define what’s beautiful, baldness is not a look that is considered attractive,” says Ms. Cunningham. She notes that from the time girls are young, they are pressured into set beauty standards, with a high value placed on hair. Through this project, Ms. Cunningham hopes to change the way people view beauty, female hair loss, and baldness.
“Every woman, young and old, needs to know that she is naturally beautiful. Stop allowing society to dictate our beauty.”
The exhibit further breaks barriers of accessibility through its use of lithophanes, raised reliefs that interact with light, to create both a unique visual and tactile experience. The issue of accessibility became of paramount importance to Ms. Cunningham after attending a meeting of the National Federation of the Blind last year. “It was shocking to learn about the lack of accessibility in the arts and how blind and low vision audiences aren’t considered. I left the meeting feeling inspired enough to make it mandatory that any venue, gallery, or museum that requests my work, must agree that it will be made accessible for audiences with low vision and hearing.” Braille text panels and audio descriptions will also accompany the works.
About The Artists
Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Alyscia Cunningham is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, filmmaker, and photographer who contributes to National Geographic, Discovery Channel, America Online and the Smithsonian Institution. Her work focuses on changing the dialogue around beauty standards for women through documentary film and unaltered photography. After the success of her first book, Feminine Transitions: A Photography Celebration of Natural Beauty, she continued to inspire social change with her new book and documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair.
Virtual Exhibit Programs
Art and Accessibility
How do we make art accessible? Exhibiting artist Alyscia Cunningham confronts this question in her innovative exhibition, I Am More Than My Hair. Join her in a virtual walkthrough of her ongoing show followed by a panel discussion with art and accessibility experts Becky Emmert, Cheryl Fogle-Hatch, Cheryl Green, Julie Hein, Marguerite Woods, and Robin Lynne Marquis who are working to change the way we experience art.
A virtual screening of Alyscia Cunningham’s film I Am More Than My Hair, telling the stories of women who have lost their hair and exploring the meaning of beauty. The screening will be followed by a virtual discussion with Ms. Cunningham.
Anthony Gaskins, The Hat Man
On Exhibit: March 19 – May 28, 2021
A collection of handcrafted hats by artist and milliner Anthony Gaskins. Mr. Gaskins is the creator of Hugs and Hats, an idea he developed after losing his parents, sister, and mentor to cancer. Through Hugs and Hats, he counsels cancer patients and runs hat-making workshops. “Words can’t describe how it feels to give someone fighting cancer a hat,” he explained. “To put them in something that totally transforms their mindset and how they feel about the sickness that they have and that they are fighting.” Mr. Gaskins sees his life’s mission as helping those fighting cancer. His hats showcase one way cancer patients can recapture confidence after experiencing the hair loss that often accompanies chemotherapy.
About the Artist
Anthony Gaskins is a milliner by trade. He designs, creates, buys, and sells hats. For decades he has run his own business, serving a broad and diverse clientele. He teaches – formally and informally – about the history and culture surrounding hats.
Path of Pyramids – Outdoor Sculpture Walk by Wheaton Arts Parade
On Exhibit: March 20 – May 23, 2021
The Wheaton Arts Parade has teamed up with the Sandy Spring Museum to exhibit the “Path of Pyramids” in the Spring of 2021.
This public art installation originally debuted in September 2020 in Wheaton when the traditional Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival became a two-week public art installation and virtual festival because of the COVID pandemic. The “Path of Pyramids” connected ten 4ft and three 8ft tetrahedrons throughout the Wheaton Urban District from Westfield Mall to the Town Plaza to the Library. More than 45 local artists competed for commissions to create their original work on wooden tetrahedrons crafted by Bella Faccia Inc. Wheaton Arts Parade (WAP) is proud to have provided funds to local artists during this time of economic crisis to create their work in Montgomery County and celebrate the cultural diversity of Wheaton.
Two pyramids were sponsored by local businesses, the Limerick Pub and Westfield Wheaton. A third was sponsored by the Wheaton Studio of Dance and another was created in collaboration with One Montgomery Green using non-recyclable #6 plastics. This year’s WAP Community Mosaic Project was funded by the Maryland State Arts Council and featured Wheaton families creating a mosaic tribute to their Salvadoran heritage under the guidance of WAP mosaic artists. The Path of Pyramids was linked by colorful crocheted designs hanging from lamposts that were created by WAP Latinx artists and women from the Wheaton area.
The WAP pyramids are regular tetrahedrons made up of four equilateral triangles. The heart of Wheaton also is a triangle formed by the intersection of three state highways and the annual Wheaton Arts Parade marches around the triangle, bringing together Wheaton’s citizens, cultures and commerce with art. The 2019 parade mascot was a friendly giant magenta tetrahedron and 2020, the Path of Pyramids kept the triangle theme alive.
WAP is thankful to the Sandy Spring Museum for giving local artists another opportunity to have their work appreciated by a new audience in Montgomery County. You can see images of the pyramids on the WAP website where you also will be able to hear an audio podcast from each of the artists.
Click here for more information.