It’s time we had a talk about gender bias in the arts. Recent surveys show women earn half of the MFAs in the U.S., yet only 30% are represented by commercial galleries. Among major exhibitions by art institutions in the U.S. an average of 30% are of women artists. While representation among leadership staff and faculty at art academia and institutions has improved, it is not producing results. We know the arts can, and should, do better, but how? This session provides a critical space to candidly and tactically address the deleterious effects of gender-based discrimination in the arts. As with other civil rights projects, the fight for gender equity is incomplete and enduring. We create this space because our strategies require both realignment and cultivation; because our shared stories offer mutual validation, support, and encouragement; and because collectively strategizing to counter gender biases is hopeful, empowering, and necessary work. The race for recognition among artists, arts professionals, and academics often occurs at the same time that women are making family planning decisions. Whether we choose to raise families or not, women in the workforce share concerns about how our needs are met as professionals, cultural producers, and vital contributors to our fields. Together we will formulate concrete actions that will increase awareness and empower women to demand change within existing power structures. Session organizers represent artist, teacher, curator, and executive director perspectives. This session begins with a short introduction, followed by a group discussion and workshop.
Xandra Eden, DiverseWorks
Jody Servon, Appalachian State University
Jina Valentine, School of the Art Institute, Chicago