The Daily Gamecock

Girls Block brings women creatives together for local festival

This weekend, Girls Block is bringing feminist art to the 1600 block of Main Street. The festival will take place on March 9, one day after International Women’s Day, and will showcase creative work made by women and female-run businesses.

In a press release, the organization said it wants to “create an environment of radical acceptance for women,” something it acknowledges can be hard to find, even in creative spaces. The Girls Block festival intends to build a space here in Columbia with creative women at the forefront to uplift female voices through a series of public events. 

“I’ve always wondered where all the women were at in this male dominated culture. This event is meant to bring in all women to let us spotlight them, support them, and empower them,” Kati Baldwin, creative director and Girls Block co-founder, said in a press release. "The festival isn’t just for women, though. It’s also for those who support them."

For one vendor, the art presented promises to be for all kinds of people.

“I make art for myself and any other human beings out there in the world who may feel like they need to have a serious sit-down conversation with themselves.” Kaylah Dixon, artist and Girls Block vendor, said in an email interview. 

While everyone is invited to this conversation, women are at the center of it.

“This event feels so incredibly special to me because it thrives in providing a safe space for women creatives to gather together and celebrate their creations + each other simultaneously." Dixon said. "I feel so empowered by the vision Girls Block represents."

The all-day celebration will begin at 7 a.m. with a vendor fair, live poetry and music performances throughout the day leading up to an evening of live music at local venues including Space Hall in Tapp’s Arts Center, Lula Drake and Hendrix. Doors will open to all venues at 8 p.m., and performers will range from out-of-town headliners to Columbia natives.

Dixon explained that Girls Block is more than just a festival, it's a place for female empowerment.

“I think women creatives need more spaces that not only accept their work for all that it is (without correction and/or adjustment) but also makes an effort to understand the complexities of the creation itself,” Dixon said.

Girls Block was created as an opportunity for women to come together to recognize each other and that, for Dixon, is powerful in itself.

“It makes such a difference in my own work when I’ve created a piece that another woman can relate to. There is so much space and room for growth to understand each other. If that’s not necessary, I don’t know what is," Dixon said.