The Works of Women on Display
Gadsden Arts Center & Museum spotlights female artists
Through mid-December, the Gadsden Arts Center & Museum in Quincy is featuring exhibitions centered on female artists.
A traveling exhibition — Women Artists: Four Centuries of Creativity — on loan from the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania, features etchings, lithographs, drawings, watercolors and photographs by important women artists dating to the 1600s. The artists include Rosa Bonheur, Sonia Delaunay, Joan Mitchell, Louise Nevelson, Françoise Gilot, Clara Skinner, Lorna Simpson, and dozens more.
“To understand the present, we need to understand history, and in this case, understand what women endured over the past 400 years in order to become artists,” said Grace Robinson, executive director of Gadsden Arts. “We get to view their talent through the artwork, but also learn the stories of what they accomplished socially, culturally and historically.”
Robinson said Gadsden Arts is able to exhibit this art because it is one of two nationally accredited museums in the region. With that status, they bring in historically significant work that enriches everyone from school children to seniors.
Senga Nengudi’s abstract conceptional piece A.C.Q (Air Conditioning Queen), made of refrigerator parts and nylon panty hose, is on display. Nengudi’s art serves as commentary on motherhood, feminism and life as a Black woman.
Quincy artist Dawn McMillan brings local landscapes to life on canvas in her series, Captured Moments. Quarantining during the pandemic, McMillan studied photographs of past travels, which evoked feelings of serenity and solace. She captured natural scenes —trees in silhouette, the light following an afternoon storm, reflections on the water of nearby Wakulla Springs.
Renee Lewis of Winter Park uses bold and bright abstract images in her oil and pastel paintings. Her background as a former fabric designer is apparent in the repeating patterns and decorative motifs woven throughout themes of female empowerment.
“These exhibitions represent such a wide variety of women in styles and backgrounds, but what unites them is the barriers they had to break down to succeed as women artists,” said Angie Barry, curator for Gadsden Arts.
The museum’s permanent collection aligns with the theme as well and is titled Spotlight on Women. The collection of 13 paintings and sculptures includes works by Beth Appleton, Virginia Coultas, Alyne Harris, Bessie Harvey, Sara May Love, Mary T. Smith, Ruby Williams and Suzanna Winton.
“Many of these women are self-taught geniuses making art with whatever they had, wherever they were, struggling to make ends meet,” said Sarah Black-Sadler, educator for Gadsden Arts. “Still, their spirit and drive are so visible and palpable in their work. We hope people see this art and understand that art comes from everywhere and can be made anywhere, in any way, by anyone.”
Gadsden Arts provides programming for all ages. Every Saturday, ArtZone invites children and their parents to view the exhibitions and then participate in creating art inspired by what they witnessed. Volunteer docents conduct tours. In the community, Gadsden Arts impacts the lives of children and teens by exposing them to art and by inspiring creativity through their programs, Art Reach and the Teen Art Council.
The museum adheres to an overall mission of improving life through the arts.
Gadsden Arts Center | 13 North Madison Street, Quincy, FL 32351 | 850.627.5023 | gadsdenarts.org