Mentoring Artists for Women's Art

Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA) was founded in 1984 to “encourage the intellectual and creative development of women in the visual arts by providing a forum for education and critical dialogue”. What does it mean to have worked for over three decades to support women in the visual arts? It means we have built a thriving, intergenerational community. It means we have shared knowledge and resources in a way that has made us all stronger. It means women’s experiences are no longer quite so marginalized—for example, we can create work about the female body, about caregiving or about a feminist politic, without being entirely sidelined by the art world. It means craft-based practices are no longer denigrated as “women’s work”. It means that some things have improved: women artists are among the most established in the country. At MAWA, all of this has been achieved through mentorship. This model of art education has proven to be nothing short of transformative, and many artists credit MAWA with being pivotal in their professional practices. Our programs provide essential critical feedback on work at key times, professional skills development necessary for survival as artists, and networking and inclusion in the visual art community. Since our inception we have provided mentorships for hundreds of women artists in our year-long Foundation Mentorship Program, as well as lectures, artist talks, skills based workshops, professional practices workshops, critical reading groups, studio visits, an artist-mothers group, screenings, field trips and more. Although our mentorship programs are for women artists, recognizing historical and present-day inequalities, the majority of our programs are open to people of all genders, and are offered at low or no cost. In the past 30 years we have achieved a lot—as women artists, as feminists, as members of a caring, knowledge-sharing community. And with your continued support, we can do even more.

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