V-Monologues is a start for Alberni gallery owner

Gwynne Hunt, owner of Main Artery art supply store on Argyle Street, and principal for Art Matters Society, is ready to shake up the arts scene. - SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News
Gwynne Hunt, owner of Main Artery art supply store on Argyle Street, and principal for Art Matters Society, is ready to shake up the arts scene.
— image credit: SUSAN QUINN/Alberni Valley News

When Gwynne Hunt moved to Port Alberni from the Fraser Valley last year, it wasn’t to sit around in retirement. Since she has arrived she’s opened Main Artery, an art gallery-slash-supply store on Argyle Street, and relocated Art Matters Society—and organization that gained speed in Abbotsford. She has also attempted to turn Port Alberni’s art scene on its ear.

Hunt brings The Vagina Monologues to the Capitol Theatre this Saturday, Feb. 9. She has produced this show more than 20 times in the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland, raising funds for groups that work to end violence against women and girls.

The original Vagina Monologues was written by Eve Ensler as a play in 1996. Her version enjoyed a three-and-a-half-year run off-Broadway, with some A-list actresses taking on some of the rotating roles.

Port Alberni’s Monologues cast features 16 local women who, through poignant, hilarious and controversial tales will raise awareness about violence against women.

Ensler told the Guardian in the United Kingdom that she was so disturbed by stories of violence and abuse she was hearing from women that she and other activists came up with V-Day, now an international movement to end violence against women.

The original point of the play resonates with Hunt. “My work is about social justice and the arts,” she says. She favours unjuried performances because they give a broader group the opportunity for onstage exposure.

Her first play, Breadlines, about life in a Downtown Eastside Vancouver food bank lineup, played to sold out crowds last fall. She is planning an Arts Day on May 18 and intends to start a Fringe Festival in June.

Hunt has been a writer all her life, as a creative writing teacher and then playwright.  She wrote a play called Missing that played to female inmates incarcerated in various jails.

That led to work on a piece about the Highway of Tears in northern B.C., and ultimately a book chronicling the lives of missing and murdered women and children in B.C.—a six-year project that saw her amass a list of 4,000 names.

Hunt has made it her mission to raise awareness—through projects such as The Vagina Monologues—of domestic violence and the numbers of women killed every year as a result.

Tickets for The Vagina Monologues are $15 and available at the door beginning at 7 p.m. The show starts at 8 p.m.

Funds raised this year will go to the Alberni Community and Women’s Services Society and One Billion Rising, Feb. 14 (12-1 p.m., Char’s Landing).



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