Culture July 3, 2018
We always seem to hear this question: Why haven’t there been more great women artists throughout western history? The Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous group of female artists working to fight sexism in the arts, ask a different question: Why haven’t more women been considered great artists throughout western history?
Women across the globe experience workplace and societal discrimination, so women in art aren’t the exception. However, they experience an extreme disparity in compensation and exposure compared to their male counterparts. The National Museum for Women in the Arts reports that work by women artists makes up only three–five percent of major permanent collections and on average, employed female artists make $20,000 less than their male counterparts.
Each of us has the ability to change this reality by supporting women in the arts, especially with so many organizations leading the charge. Here are five to check out if you’re interested in this cause.
The group, which powerfully rephrased the question surrounding women’s art, is still active and growing. These anonymous, gorilla mask-wearing feminists have shows around the world. It also holds talks, workshops and exhibitions on the power and practice of activism with eye-catching and bright visuals.
The group claims that their anonymity keeps the focus of their activism on work rather than on any individuals.
“We believe in an intersectional feminism that fights discrimination and supports human rights for all people and all genders,” the group writes on its website. “We undermine the idea of a mainstream narrative by revealing the understory, the subtext, the overlooked, and the downright unfair.”
You can support this radical group by purchasing their merchandise, which includes pop art posters, T-shirts, and books.
You can also support the group by checking out their calendar and visiting exhibitions near you.
Founded by a group of women artists in 1980, this organization focuses on advancing the overall status of the woman artist. It works to promote the work of thousands of female artists by hosting over 150 programs throughout the U.S. every year.
Today the group has over 1,000 members and continues to grow.
While membership requires years of experience and excellence in the art world, anyone can support ArtTable by donating. If you know a great female artist, consider nominating her for membership.
Founded in 2013, this special space works to cultivate a creative feminist community in the Los Angeles area. The nonprofit has over 20,000 followers and offers membership to anyone. While membership is as low as $10 a month, the center also offers membership in exchange for volunteer hours.
For your membership, you get access to facilities for creatives and a full calendar of weekly events. Some of the events include monthly discussions by third-culture women, open library hours at the Feminist Library on Wheels and a workshop on the power and practice of radio.
Support this group by donating, volunteering, buying their merchandise, attending events or becoming a member.
This organization was established in 1889, making it the oldest women’s fine art association in the country. Like other groups, the mission of NAWA is to help women achieve a stronger presence in the art world.
What makes NAWA stand out though is its permanent collection, which was established in 1991 at Rutgers University. The collection holds pieces as far back as the inception of the association.
You can support NAWA by visiting the permanent collection in New York or any of the current exhibits listed on the website. You can also donate here.
NWIA focuses specifically on advancing the art of indigenous women. It works to lend exposure to an extremely marginalized demographic of artists through programs, awards and exhibitions. It functions as a nonprofit that benefits “First Nations, Inuit and Metis women.”
The organization also offers aid to emerging, mid-career and established artists, so you don’t years of experience to contribute. They’re currently showcasing a performance series which plans to connect leaders in Toronto to the indigenous art community.
NWIA accepts donations here.
Not only can you donate to these organizations, you may also consider donation matching funds. Many employers are happy to match the donation you make, either doubling or even tripling your contribution. Each donation makes a difference in the life and world of women artists today and ensures that they won’t be left behind.
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