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Women Bisnow
November 12, 2007

Women Do the Arts

This issue of Washington Women is presented
by Ernst & Young: "Quality in Everything We Do."

by Karin Tanabe, for Bisnow on Business

Fall may be fading, but benefit season is in full swing, made clear Thursday night at the National Museum of Women in the Arts by a finale for the institution’s 20th anniversary.  Proceeds from the event—Noche Latina—will benefit the Shenson Chamber Music concert series, free recitals that highlight women performers.

Museum founder Wilhelmina Cole Holladay, right, a sort of godmother to women in the arts, here with Carol Lascaris, NMWA President Emerita and husband Climis. Wilhelmina and her husband Wallace founded the Museum in 1981, opening its doors in this former Masonic temple in 1987.

Ellen and Bob Bennett with Jan Smith and her husband Sam Donaldson.

The Guerilla Girls, the famous gorilla-masked group of outspoken feminist artists, would have had nothing but praise for the event. Painting under male pseudonyms, never gracing the pages of art history textbooks, and garnering nothing more than meager bucks for their works are becoming things of the past for female artists. WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution, curated at LA MOCA, is currently on display.  It’s the largest exhibition in NMWA’s history and offers a major re-thinking of feminist art.

From left, Elaine Cole, Gloria Dittus and Judy Esfandiary.

Considering that fewer than 5% of the artists displayed at the MET in New York are female, there is a way to go.  But men and women alike were lauding the Museum’s achievements to the hips and hand claps of flamenco dancers. Guest Gordon West said, “You know as well as I do that it’s the most fabulous museum in the country.”

NMWA benefit Co-Chairs Andrea Roane, left, and Irene Natividad flank museum Board President Mary Mochary.

Liechtenstein ambassador Claudia Fritsche flanked by Noreen Andreoli and Cathy Bert, both museum national advisory board members.

Lisa Pumphrey and Nancy Stevenson, NMWA board Works of Art Chair. The museum has growing international recognition: Stevenson, Holladay and others were leaving for London to meet with the Friends of the NMWA UK.

From left, Gilan Tocco Corn, Director of the Shenson Chamber Music Concerts and artistic director of the evening, HELP Commission Chairman Mary Bush, Jan Smith, and American Red Cross chairman Bonnie McElveen-Hunter.
Artist Clara Peeters, a contemporary of Rembrandt, was the first to inspire Holladay and her husband to focus their art collecting on female artists, much overlooked in art history and on the white walls of museums. Male artists are so last…century. With the help of Thursday night’s well-heeled crowd, the works of Peeters, Artemisia Gentileschi, Kara Walker, Judy Chicago and Cindy Sherman will no doubt be replacing those ubiquitous Salvador Dali posters in dorm rooms everywhere.

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