“There is something about a woman who raises her voice in public that is difficult for us as a society.. There is a sense of authority being a masculine quality”.
- Zinnie Harris, Playwright
If you have been living under a rock, you may not be aware that March is Women’s History Month. As part of an all-female staff at Fresh Arts, I can appreciate the importance of acknowledging other women’s achievements (if only it was all year round huh). Sadly, even in 2016 we are used to hearing about sexism in the world in general, and despite huge progress in gender equality in the last century, it still lingers. In a sector as ostensibly liberal as the arts, one would expect (or at least hope) that in this day and age, credit would be based on creative merit rather than the artist's ability to grow a beard..
According to Gallery Tally, a collaborative art project that invites artists all over the world to calculate and visualize the gender ratios at top contemporary art galleries, approximately 80% of BA and BFA graduates are female, and approximately 60% of MFA graduates are female. Yet, only 30% of artists represented by galleries are female. The issue is undoubtedly a national or even a global one, but it's happening right here on our doorstep too. Just a quick look at 8 of Houston's most popular contemporary art galleries reveals that we are barely above this national average, with just under 34% of artists represented being female. Since 2010, only one out of the six Hunting Prize winners has been a female artist. Of course it’s certainly not an issue that is specific to visual artists either, as discrepancies in compensation, representation, and recognition continue to permeate a variety of disciplines throughout the arts.
Luckily, I have the pleasure of knowing a whole host of innovative, visionary, and creative women who are constantly forging new paths in a competitive arts scene. So, with this being said, I am pleased to announce Bayou Boss Ladies, a ten-part blog series through Fresh Arts honoring ten of the most badass ladies making waves in the Houston art scene right now. The idea was borne from a brainstorming session between local artist and activist Carrie Schneider and Fresh Arts' marketing manager Ariel Jones. As both an arts administrator and a woman of color, Ariel was keen to instigate a program that, in her words, will “accentuate the creativity and the narratives of those who are often overlooked and overshadowed. Women, in particular, spend an exorbitant amount of energy trying to convince ourselves that we are worthy of our own accomplishments. It’s a shame. Bayou Boss Ladies is an attempt to not only recognize exceptional female creativity in Houston by saying, “we see you, you are amazing, own your success”, but it is also an instrument of encouragement for emerging female creatives.”
The series will culminate in an evening of cocktails and conversation with said Boss Ladies at the Fresh Arts Gallery at Winter Street Studios. Stay tuned for the first installment!
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.