Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Women's Studio Workshop: Inside an all -woman art space
by Hallmark, Kara Kelley, Ph.D., The Florida State University, 2007, 272; 3301552
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to bring to the forefront the lives and experiences of women artists within one context, the Women's Studio Workshop. In order to ensure that women artists have equal inclusion in the canon, we must record their lives and work (Sandell & Collins, 1997; Korzenik, 1990; Nochlin, 1971). In response to the lack of opportunities, U.S. women artists have organized for more than a century (Briggs, 1932; Skiles, 1975; Sturken, 1978). An upsurge of women's artist organizations occurred during the early 1970s feminist art movement as a part of the larger women's liberation movement (Brodsky 1994). Driven by my curiosity about women artist organizations, I located a present day group of women artists to research. The question “What is the nature of one woman centered art space?” guided my inquiry. The Women's Studio Workshop is one example of a women's artist community that provides support, education, exhibition, employment, and empowerment to women artists since the early 1970s. Fully immersed in the environment, I observed daily activities, interviewed staff and visiting artists, and participated in the community on three separate visits over the course of 18 months.

The findings revealed a community with connection to history and its surrounding environment. The Women's Studio Workshop is its own miniature art world that is both separate from and working within the art world at large. A grass-roots nonprofit organization, the workshop provides opportunities for women artists to create art in a room of their own. The workshop is a place where artists from several different generations can usually be found, collaborating, sharing, and growing together. Although the workshop does not hold an overtly political agenda, indeed the actions of the workshop are woman-centered, which sets the stage for political activity and dialogue. Women reportedly felt more comfortable in woman-centered environment, free to have intimate conversations and talk without censoring their words. This feminist inspired inquiry was shaped largely by my own personal perspective and feelings, which is explicitly stated throughout the findings and interpretations.

For art education this literature will be another example of a women's artist organization that functions as a community arts program by collaborating with local schools and as an example of women artists organizing and making their way in the world as artists despite discriminatory obstacles. For the discipline of women's studies, this paper will serve as another source of feminist praxis, illustrating where and how action reflects and supports feminist theory.

Indexing (document details)
School: The Florida State University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Womens studies, Gender
Keywords: Alternative art space, Art community, Art education, Women artist communities, Women artist organizations, Women artists, Women's Studio Workshop
Publication Number: 3301552
ISBN: 978-0-549-46884-4
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