Work by 40 female artists from across Western New York will go on view tonight in the Benjaman Gallery (419 Elmwood Ave.) as part of an exhibition designed to raise money for the YWCA of Western New York and draw attention to the community work the agency performs.

The exhibition, titled “Hear Me Roar!” after Helen Reddy’s anthem “I am Woman,” will feature work by many active figures on the local art scene, including watercolorist Rita Auerbach, painters Felice Koenig and Candace Masters, and photographers Nancy J. Parisi and Shasti O’Leary Soudant. The Benjaman Gallery also will pull from its significant trove of paintings by female artists who worked in earlier eras, including Martha Visser’t Hooft and Virginia Cuthbert, along with pieces by accomplished living artists Catherine Parker and Jeanette Blair. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to the YWCA.

“The idea of having women artists donate all or part of the proceeds from their work to help other women and families in this community is fantastic,” said YWCA CEO Deborah Lynn Williams in a statement. “Women helping other women is so important.”

The opening reception, which begins at 6 tonight as part of the increasingly popular Allentown First Fridays celebration, is free. Call 553-8483 or visit

– Colin Dabkowski