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Women in the Arts

Artist Michol Hebron, who tallies Los Angeles area galleries, states that, “When I go to museums or galleries, I look to them as indicators of the way that our culture processes and reflects ideas, theories, experiences, and emotions. If I consistently have to try to ‘put myself in a man’s shoes’ in order to ‘relate’ to a work of art, it begins to create an identity crisis of sorts. I am constantly being told by history, the market, and art world trends that to be successful, I have to be like someone else, namely, a male.”

According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, over 85% of collections held by museums are done by male artists. While 51% of artists in the United States are female, only about 30% are represented by galleries.

These statistics hold true for Utah galleries and museums where I live. A survey of the artists on the 15 bytes artist listing shows that 60% of artists in Utah are female. A review of 12 of the leading galleries in Utah shows that 5 represent 70% men and 30% female. Six have a more equitable distribution, while still male favored, of about 55% male. There is one outlier Relics gallery, which is 70% female. Women fare much worse in Utah museum collections. The Springville Museum, which holds mostly Utah artists in their collection, has only about 35% of works by female artists. A survey of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts recent acquisitions shows that only about 17% were by female artists. While the BYU MOA boasts the only collection named after a female artist, Minerva Tiechert, the collections available for viewing on their website are about 90% male. A tally of their recent acquisition highlights are 100% male. These statistics demonstrate the gender disparity that exists in the nation also exists between artists in Utah.

To help combat this disparity, I am holding a fundraiser for the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Ten dollars from every 100 Things That are Pink postcards, pictured above, will be donated towards their programming that reduces inequality in the arts. If you are interested in contributing, postcards can be puchased here :Watercolor 5 X 7 Postcard | Nancy Andruk Olson

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