A Message from the Board of Directors
We want to share an important update on the status of Woman Made Gallery (WMG) with our community of members, artists, curators, and the wider public. Jamie Pitts has recently stepped down as Managing Director. The Board of Directors is currently transitioning Jamie’s responsibilities to board members with the help of Darshita Jain, Programming Lead. We sincerely thank Jamie for stewarding the gallery during a challenging time in our history.
Since 1992, Woman Made Gallery has made a name for itself as a space – in the Chicago art world and beyond – by and for women/femmes. Over the last three decades, the gallery has been confronting its founding fabric, evaluating what inclusion and equity looks like in a sector that has long placed women, artists of color, and many other groups on the margins. In evaluating our changing landscape, we are learning more about how difficult it is to be the sort of equitable, inclusive, and justice-oriented gallery we seek to be while in pursuit of capital.
We acknowledge that the past two years were hard, and many individuals, small businesses, nonprofits, and artists have struggled financially, including Woman Made Gallery. Despite the support we received from our community, we are sad to report that Woman Made has not been able to raise enough funds to ensure full staffing levels through the summer. Beyond this immediate need, we know that we need to tackle fundamental questions around labor, justice, and other issues facing artists in our contemporary context.
Woman Made Gallery is at a complex crossroads. We face the financial sustainability question that is always present for nonprofit organizations but has been amplified by the impact of COVID-19 on historical revenue streams (e.g., exhibition ticket sales, art sales, event donations). For far too long, Woman Made relied upon the unpaid labor of our passionate founder, Beate Minkovski, who did all she could to create opportunities so many of us (women/femmes/non-binary folks) could pursue our craft and reach new audiences.
In the last few years, our exhibitions have been enriched because of the organization’s more nuanced view of womanhood/womanness that includes our non-binary artistic family. Our commitment to becoming a more racially equitable organization began with the revamp of our Board of Directors and more intentional staff hiring – we believe that representation on every level matters. As we navigate this period of transition, we also need to address an influx of racism and xenophobia directed at our staff by gallery members.
First and foremost, we remain steadfast in our commitment to creating a more equitable and justice-oriented space for women and non-binary artists. Our ability to realize this goal is also directly affected by our ability (and quite frankly our willingness) to speak out against hatred and racism in our community (i.e., artists, donors, members, etc.). We cannot embrace actions that create hostility and openly harass our team members, board members, or anyone in a space being cultivated by our organization.
Secondly, our financial stability calls for radical transparency with our community. We have a very real scenario that ends with Woman Made Gallery closing its doors for good after 30 years. Our Board of Directors still feels strongly about the importance of this institution, and we know its future is entirely dependent on the support by our constituents. .
We believe that Woman Made Gallery can survive and thrive with your support. We are asking you to help in one or more of the following ways:
- Renew your membership, and please consider paying membership dues with a monthly automatic payment.
- Make tax-deductible gift to WMG.
- Donate your time. We especially need volunteers in the following areas right now:
- Installing and uninstalling exhibitions.
- Helping at exhibition openings and closing events.
- Be patient with us during a time of regrouping and rebuilding capacity.
As we celebrate WMG’s 30-year Anniversary, please visit us at the gallery, participate in our public programming, and keep an eye out for more information. We will keep updating and including you in this journey with us.
Yours in service,
Woman Made Gallery Board of Directors