We hope that this letter finds you in good spirits. Over the past year, you have lifted ours with your love and support ranging from returning to the gallery for opening receptions, joining us online for virtual artist talks, celebrating with us at our Fall Fundraiser or sending us positive notes through our social media channels. Thank you for continuing to recognize the value of women’s art in our lives, especially during times of great change.
We promoted the work of over 332 member artists and gave 269 women and non-binary artists the opportunity to exhibit their work and connect with impressive jurors like Jessica Bingham, artist and curator at University Galleries of Illinois State University (Normal, IL) and Alison Wong, director and curator at Wasserman Projects (Detroit). We explored topics of reciprocity and generative relationships drawing upon photographic processes, boundary setting and making sense of the unique challenges faced by women during the exhaustive extension of pandemic conditions, centering love and joy in found families and queer community, as well as the need to slow down and resist capitalist production as the core meaning of life.
And while the scope of our work this year has been impressive, it’s artists like Shahrbanoo Hamzehthat affirm the reason Woman Made Gallery continues to host our programs and make space for women and the many artists that live and work at the margins. Shahrbanoo is an Iranian artist presently based in Central Illinois who explores borders and displacement within bodies, domestic spaces, and home countries through her own personal narrative. You supported her work by attending Moments Like This Opening Reception and the 5th Midwest Artists Walkthrough or viewing her work through our website and social media.
As we continued to support strong exhibitions and exhibit artists like Shahrbanoo Hamzeh and Micah Dillman, Haylie Jimenez and Barbie Perry, this year we also strengthened our position as a nonprofit organization. We welcomed a full board with mission-focused, energetic women who are committed to social justice in the arts and were looking for a rare opportunity to shape a growing nonprofit organization. We participated in a selective cohort of nonprofits with the Interactive Institute of Social Change's Advancing Racial Justice online learning series to develop a shared language as board and staff and begin to build an operational plan to center racial equity internally and externally. We welcomed the return of funders like Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, and CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.
THESE ARE THE CLEAR SIGNS
THAT WOMAN MADE GALLERY IS A VITAL SPACE FOR FEMINIST ART,
BUT WE CAN'T DO IT WITHOUT YOUR HELP.
Your generosity before the end of 2021 will ensure our stability, while we look ahead to a year of transformation. Woman Made Gallery is positioned to grow into a sophisticated non-profit with a strong intersectional feminist framework.
Woman Made is shifting to deepen our impact and engagement with our member artists. We want to speak more directly to you, meet you where you are at, visit your studios, bring you together in-person or online to understand your processes and critical thinking. We want your input on the programs we are shaping; WMG will deepen our impact based on what artists in our community need.
Woman Made Gallery is shifting to host critical, ambitious exhibitions, one of the most exciting of which is an upcoming spring exhibition titled “The Deeply Rooted” curated by Sundus Abdul Hadi. We are proud to announce that WMG has been awarded the Midwest GIG fund grant to support the exhibition and bring its impressive curatorial vision to life. The question at the heart of this exhibition is : What does being steeped in traditional and Indigenous knowledge look like? How do communities rooted in ancient cultures future build and write their own narratives? The benefits of this one program alone - whether measured in terms of increased opportunities for Arab-Muslim artists or opportunities for community dialogue around the theme that centers the lived experiences of women and non-binary immigrants in Chicago - promise to be tremendous.Your ongoing support will help resource this initiative and bring it fully into existence, as well as others like it that are on the horizon.
While the board and staff are working hard and ready for what comes next, Woman Made has something truly unique - YOU, our community of women supporters from such vast and vibrant backgrounds. We encourage you to join us in our work in the following ways:
DONATE TODAY- Your donation now to our annual fund will allow us to strategically plan, build capacity, and deepen our support for the many women and non-binary artists that we support, and make a recurring gift of any sizeto help keep Woman Made Gallery steady and stable.
EMPLOYER MATCH - Check to see if your workplace offers donation matching. Many employers do and then your donation can be multiplied.
START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER - Instagram and Facebook make it simple to create your own fundraiser, and it doesn't have to be your birthday.
BUY ART - Support WMG and artists directly by purchasing work through our webstore. Artworks from our Small Works Members Exhibition are available now through December 18th at 4 PM CST.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA - Find us on Instagram and Facebook and help spread the word. Your engagement online helps expand our reach far and wide to grow our audiences!
Thank you for helping facilitate opportunities and environments in which women and non-binary artist’s work can be seen as valuable, where feminist conversations are supported and the lived experiences of marginalized artists are centered, affirmed and celebrated.
IMAGE: Because of supporters like you, this year we exhibited the work of Haylie Jimenez and Micah Dillman in the exhibition Water Becomes Blood juried by Aliya Parashar and Zakkiyyah Najeebah Dumas O’Neal and directed by Lish Atchison Roeder.
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