By Christy Oldham @demigoddesspictures
February 18, 2016, Los Angeles- I recently had the opportunity of attending a Women Painters West luncheon and the energy was electrifying. Listening to the dialogue of brilliant female painters, like guest speaker Professor & contemporary artist Nancy Monk as she explained her artistic choices during a slide show
presentation, was an intoxicating experience. So much in fact, that I was inspired to pickup my paint brush again and join this exclusive club that is celebrating a near century of empowering and supporting innovative works by extraordinary women artists.
Founded in 1921, WPW is the largest organization of it’s kind with over 200 active members who exhibit their work in galleries, museums, and universities throughout the Los Angeles area. Membership is achieved through a jurying process that takes place annually. I sat down with WPW Communications Chair Peggy Charboneau who explained the history of this remarkable non profit organization and it’s current membership drive:
DGC: What is the history of Women Painters West?
PC: “WPW was founded in 1921 in Laguna Beach, CA under the name of The Woman’s Art Club of Southern California, the organization underwent two name changes before officially becoming Women Painters West in 1983. Laguna Beach was an established art colony in 1921. However, the access to, and participation in the mainstream arts avenues was primarily male. WPW was founded to enlarge the female artist’s relevance in the art world of the time. Many of Women Painters West’s early members were among the best and most enduring early California women artists. Notable early members included Mabel Alvarez, Kathryn Leighton, Elsie Palmer Payne and Donna Norine Schuster . The work of several early WPW members was included in the Autry Museum of Western Heritage’s 2012 special exhibition Independent Spirits — Women Painters of the American West, 1890-1945”.
DGC: What is WPW’s MISSION AND PURPOSE?
PC: “The Women Painters West’s (WPW) mission is to provide women painters with fellowship in an artistic community with emphasis on elevating creative standards, and providing exhibition venues for its diverse group of professional artists. Additionally, WPW offers financial assistance to encourage the development of emerging artist for the betterment of the individual and culture of the general community. We support the artistic and professional growth of a diverse membership through promoting the spirit of fellowship among members through programs of shared interest, networking, and events, recognizing and elevating standards of creative work, enriching and enhancing member’s professional through exhibition venues and educational opportunities. Membership is based on juried selection and continued exhibit participation. We also provide financial assistance for the development of emerging artists through annual scholarships and we offer philanthropic aid to the arts community”.
DGC: Wow! That is very impressive. What does WPW have coming up?
PC: “WPW remains true to its founding principles. Since women remain under-represented in the art world, we seek to continue our history of honoring and empowering women artists. Today, WPW continues to provide exceptional programs, exhibits, and networking opportunities for its diverse group of artists. WPW’s membership numbers are around 250 professional women artists (working in all mediums), as well as fine art educators. WPW members frequently exhibit in galleries, museums, and universities and have been recognized and honored nationally and internationally. Our membership drive is accepting applications through March 31, 2016.”
DGC: What kind of programs do you have?
PC: “Our programs consist of luncheon Meetings like what Demi Goddess Chronicle attended and our very fun field trips to well known artist studios and galleries. WPW members and their guests are encouraged to attend monthly luncheon meetings that offer fellowship, and an important forum for information sharing about news, openings, and miscellaneous opportunities in the LA art world. The WPW program committee presents engaging guest speakers or entertaining themes. These luncheons are held on the second Thursday of the month. The lunches are catered and not only delicious but offer members the unique opportunity to hear renowned guest artists, gallery owners and directors speak about their creative process and endeavors in the art world while showing their work. A question and answer period after the presentation provides up-close and personal dialog with our speakers. Our members especially love the field trips, visiting the artist studios which of course gives members the rare opportunity to explore an artist’s private workplace. Private tours of exhibitions give WPW members the chance to hear directly from art historians, lecturers, and artists, about the background of a current exhibition, artist or art movement”.
DGC: Please tell us more about WPW’s support of emerging artists.
PC: “Women Painters West supports emerging artists by providing scholarships to exceptional art students to further their education and encourage their creative skills. Also, WPW’s outreach programs include philanthropic assistance to community art programs”.
DGC: And how do members exhibit their work?
PC: “Women Painters West is dedicated to presenting the finest work by our members. Throughout the year, WPW strives to provide its members with opportunities to showcase their work in a professional manner by collaborating with gallery directors, museum curators, and other art exhibitors through competitive juried exhibitions. Independent jurors from outside the organization assure exhibitions of the highest aesthetic standard and diversity. This policy illustrates WPW’s commitment to the highest standards of artistic production and has ensured that WPW exhibitions maintain its outstanding reputation for quality and diversity”.
DGC: How does one become a member of WPW?
PC: “Membership in Women Painters West is achieved through a jurying process that takes place annually. Prospective members must apply and submit three examples of recent artwork. The work is then reviewed by an Art Jury consisting of a panel of five Women Painters West members. Each year, the membership elects a new Art Jury. Women Painters West is NOW accepting new members.
For additional information or to become a member, please click HERE
For additional questions, please contact Selina Cheng, Membership Chair at firstname.lastname@example.orgShare this: