‘Looking West’: Women’s art symposium, art activities come to Steamboat Springs
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — More than 70 women artists from across the U.S. and Canada gather in Steamboat Springs this week to participate in “Looking West: Symposium for Women in the Arts,” for a week of learning, practice, inspiration and sharing.
The symposium and the events leading up to it are hosted by the Steamboat Art Museum and American Women Artists. This is the fourth show in American Women Artists’ 25 in 25 campaign, which aims to facilitate 25 museum shows for its members throughout the next 25 years.
“Getting women into museum exhibitions is the glass ceiling right now for women artists,” said AWA’s Executive Director Robin Knowlton.
When the group launched the 25 in 25 campaign in 2017, she noted, only 3% to 5% of holdings in U.S. museums were created by women artists.
“It’s just appalling,” Knowlton said.
So, AWA partners with museums and galleries across the country to up that number, hosting various events, encouraging purchases of women’s art by the public and into the venues’ permanent collections and aiming to increase professional opportunities for women in fine art.
“Looking West” at the Steamboat Art Museum features 146 paintings and sculptures, all by members of American Women Artists. Jurors of the show include Steamboat’s John Fawcett, Jennifer R. Henneman of Denver and Christine Bullard of Denver. The show will be displayed in Steamboat Art Museum through Sept. 2.
“To be able to host national shows of this type that are in support of a group of artists who are unrepresented is a pretty gratifying experience — to feel like we’re helping this group get more recognition for their work,” Steamboat Art Museum’s Chris Gallion said.
“Looking West” offerings on Wednesday, June 26, start with an 8 a.m. painting/sculpting social at the Yampa River Botanic Park, which is open to the public. Those who plan to paint or sculpt the model should bring a tip. At 9 a.m., Carolyn Anderson leads a workshop at the Steamboat Art Museum, and at 5 p.m., the museum hosts a Member’s Private Show Preview, open to AWA members, patrons and guests.
Events on Thursday, June 27, include: a painting and sculpting social, open to all, 8 a.m.; another workshop by Anderson, 9 a.m.; and a free watercolor painting demonstration and tips on marketing yourself as an artist by Carol Carter, a watercolorist known for her large-scare contemporary pieces, 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Chief Theater. The demonstration is open to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“She’s an extraordinary watercolorist. She’s really considered one of the top watercolorists in the country,” Knowlton said.
The series’ awards ceremony will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, June 28, at the Chief, followed by a public exhibition preview reception from 6 to 8 p.m.
Finally, the Symposium itself runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Chief. Presenters include Carter; artist Heidi Presse, who is creating a series of paintings based on an 1848 journal by a woman on the Oregon Trail; Jann Gilmore, author of “Olive Rush: Finding Her Place in the Santa Fe Art Colony;” and cowgirl artist Donna Howell-Sickles, who will do a drawing demonstration.
Gallion notes that while Western heritage and culture is a frequent theme across work, the show isn’t limited to that.
“This show reflects the more diverse tastes we have in this community,” Gallion said. “It’s fun to present all the different tastes that we know appeal to a lot of different people.”
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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