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Meet Jane of Women’s Art Wednesday

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jane.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Can you name five women artists?

This was a question I encountered during the third year of my undergraduate degree in art history, and it struck me. The thing I love about studying art history is that art provides such a window into the world it was created in. You can learn so much about a society by looking at what it made and why. But what does it tell us that history generally only tells us half the story by leaving out the contributions of women?

You see, women have been making great art just as long as anyone has (and that’s a really, really long time), but where nearly everyone can name artists like Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Michelangelo and Da Vinci, most people struggle to name even three women artists in history, let alone five. And that is because of historical education.

This issue inspired me with the idea for Women’s Art Wednesday, a platform for highlighting the work, relevance, and history of a different woman artist every week (on Wednesday, of course!) in an accessible format. Studying women in art history not only gives us a method for filling in the gaps in traditional historical education, but also a great tool for contextualizing historical events and learning on a wide scale. We like to say that when you study art history, you “accidentally learn everything,” because it’s so fun to dig into, and provides a framework for everything going on in a given time. So it’s this broad view that we work to bring into our writing and outreach on women in art history, and write in a way that is entertaining, fun and engaging for everyone, art-lover or otherwise.

We are a collective of art historians that create brief, engaging histories on a number of accessible formats, do presentations, and work on shows to help people learn about women artists.

In normal times, we host events highlighting the work of women artists and do educational outreach. Currently, a lot of our work has moved to a digital format, which offers up a lot of fun ways to explore education in multimedia formats including fun historical videos and digital artwork. You can sign up to receive our fun, digestible history of a different woman artist every week for only $2 a month on Patreon. There is also a tier at $5 a month that includes all of our weekly features AND two coloring sheets a month (made by a woman artist!) of a woman artist in history with a brief biography of that artist. It’s a great way to inform yourself on more women artists and why they matter, and build a collection of your own historically-inspired artwork! You can sign up on www.patreon.com/womensartwednesday!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The pandemic has certainly been a struggle for us as it basically eliminates the possibility of working on events for an indefinite amount of time. We are hopeful that we can build these resources digitally and that folks will continue to join our monthly Patreon campaign to help support the fantastic artists and art historians that work with us.

In general, it can be difficult to convey to non-art lovers why this work is important. When we celebrate the “greats” of history, oftentimes women are left out of the conversation. That reflects a general disregard for the intellectual contributions of women we see in history. So we believe that by spreading the histories of women artists as widely as possible, we can help spread awareness of the contributions of women that are often forgotten. While it can be a challenge to promote the organization and why it matters, it’s also very rewarding to see the buy-in and how excited people get to learn about world history through the lens of studying women artists throughout time.

Please tell us about Women’s Art Wednesday.
Women’s Art Wednesday is an equal collective with a board of contributors. So we all pitch-in pretty equally to produce histories on women artists, explain why they matter to the larger view of history and society and distribute them as widely as possible.

The digital age provides a lot of opportunities for getting people interested in history in a fun way. Women’s Art Wednesday is known for it’s fun, conversational and digestible histories that also contextualize a historical issue and are always easily accessible. We don’t think that art and art history and all its many wonders should only be available to folks who can afford to go to college to learn about it. So while all contributors to WAW have a bachelor’s degree or higher in art and art history, we work to make these well-cited, historically accurate pieces of research fun and entertaining for everyone to read, and easy to access.

We have a lot of writers who are great about adding humor, as well as context, to our histories. While making sure our information on any given artist or topic is accurate and credible is our number one priority, we never want to take the stuffy textbook tone in our writing. So we work to make it as entertaining as possible to read or watch. Because art history is fun and cool, and we think there’s a lot of value in incorporating joy into learning.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think being exposed to challenging questions about how we study art history has been a lucky break for all of us. It allows us to expand our thinking, and a lot of that is thanks to instructors who cared to challenge us in our own field of study when they didn’t have to.

There are a lot of institutions, museums, and individuals we’ve been lucky to connect with that have provided us a lot of opportunities.

Pricing:

  • Weekly digestible features on a woman artist in history $2 a month on Patreon
  • Monthly woman artist coloring sheets $5 a month on Patreon
  • Bonus content and videos $10 a month on Patreon

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Women’s Art Wednesday archive

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