From the Field

Women, Arts and Social Change

December 16, 2015

The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC has launched Women, Arts, and Social Change, a new initiative to address social and political issues relevant to women through the arts. “Our goal is to take the three core principles on which the museum was founded—arts, women and social action—and create programs that could begin to make a difference,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “This museum is the ideal place to present this steady drumbeat of socially relevant programming that explicitly champions women and the arts as catalysts of change.”

The initiative’s program series, FRESH TALK, convenes prominent women in the arts with individuals outside their fields for creative conversations on art, gender, equity, the environment, identity, education, health, social and economic opportunity, and more.

FRESH TALK kicked off this fall with Righting the Balance—Can there be gender parity in the art world? on October 15, where artists, curators, critics, and representatives from auction houses and galleries, activists, social media entrepreneurs, and researchers discussed strategies for addressing the inequality that persists for women artists today. A full video of Righting the Balance is available here. In November, Carrie May Weems took on the role of artist as activist in Can an artist inspire social change? (Video will be available soon.)

The next two FRESH TALK programs in 2016 will address genderless design (January 27) and combining art and science to heal the environment (March 2). FRESH TALK programs are streamed live; tune in here.

For more information on gender equity in the arts, check out AAMD’s Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships report from 2014. As of December 2015, AAMD’s membership is made up of 46% women directors, or 110 out of 239. 


Above photo: Guerrilla Girl Alma Thomas; Micol Hebron; Ghada Amer; Simone Leigh on stage discussing the Artist's Voice at the October 15 FRESH TALK. Photo: Kevin Allen