February 15, 2002
Carol Ayoob, an Aroostook County artist, will be the featured performer at this weekend's women's conference at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Saturday, February 23 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Inspired by folk and blues themes, Ayoob has been writing songs since 1974, that speak passionately, cynically and intimately of the times she shares with others, and the space that holds relationships.
"My lyrics are fearless phrases that describe an emotional and personal force that is my life. I describe the nature of questioning and reflect stories in my songs. My songs are poems that flow beautifully with the dynamics of my music," said Ayoob. "My guitar is my best friend; true vibrations pass between us, as songs are created in the essence of living, loving, and learning."
At the age of twenty, Ayoob volunteered on a battered women's hotline, and soon began a twenty-year commitment to that work. She spent eleven years with the Battered Women's Project working with children and in schools as a violence prevention educator.
She listened to stories and saw too many women and children who were only trying to live safely. Ayoob has more recently facilitated girl's theater groups in several Aroostook County schools, with a true interest in gender issues. Presently, Ayoob works for the Sexual Trauma and Recovery Services of AMHC, conducting sexual assault and sexual harassment education in the school systems.
As an artist, Ayoob has explored the aesthetics of violence in her ongoing show, "Bitter Homes and Secret Gardens", which speaks to the stories and the sensationalism of being wounded in our society.
"Religion and patriarchy are the subtle overtones present in my large-scale sculptures and collages; these installations show my deep connection to the emotion evoked over years of seeing violence affect the lives of so many women and children," said Ayoob.
The artist is an Aroostook County native, and has opened for singer-songwriter Dave Mallett at the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield. Last year she recorded a CD of twelve original songs, with guitarist John Pasquarelli, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She has performed at L'association culturel et historique du Mont-Carmel in Lille and currently performs every other Friday night at Copper's Lounge at the Northeastland Hotel in Presque Isle.
Ayoob will perform in the morning session of the conference.
The afternoon session will be highlighted by a keynote address from Maine Commissioner of Labor Valerie Landry.
Landry, who was appointed by Governor Angus King in 1995, has been involved in the field of job development and training for 15 years. She also served as an elected official in municipal government.
As commissioner of labor, one of her primary interests has centered on the better use of resources within her department to help better prepare Maine workers for the new world economy, and to help Maine employers find the resources they need to build a quality workforce.
Landry will speak about her experiences as head of the state labor office and tie her talk in to the theme for the day-long event, Women's Interest: Money, Work, and Power. Her presentation will follow lunch at 1:00 p.m. Former State Senator Judy Paradis of Frenchville will introduce the commissioner.
In addition to the Ayoob concert and keynote address by Landry, women's conference participants will join in various sessions designed to shed light on gendered attitudes toward work, banking and investment, equity, taking control of career and life, and economics.
Workshops will be offered in three different time blocks throughout the day. Topics will be explored in sessions and panel discussions entitled "Suitable Work", "Computers Don't Byte", "Equal Pay/Equal Work", "Women, Investing, and Financial Planning", "Finding Your Passion", "Spreadsheets are More than Bed Sheets", and the "Cinderella Complex", among others.
The day will also include a luncheon, which will feature artworks and crafts by local female artists on display for participants to enjoy.
Events will conclude with a wrap-up discussion and high tea.
The event is open to both the campus community and public.
All conference events, lunch, refreshments and childcare will be provided to participants at no charge. Advance registration is encouraged for meals and childcare.
Conference programs are available at the university and at several area businesses.
Funding for the conference was provided, in part, by MBNA.
For more information on the second annual UMFK Women's Conference or to register, contact Tina Caron at 834-7844.