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Spring Exhibition: Women to Watch - Ohio

April 02
May 02 2015

Where George Gund Building, Reinberger Galleries

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CIA’s Community Works series continues in spring 2015 with Women to Watch - Ohio, a major exhibition in the Reinberger Galleries initiated in partnership with the Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Where are all the women artists? According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), 51% of visual artists today are women, yet only 5% of work on US museum walls is by women, and work by women makes up only 5% of major permanent collections in the US and Europe. And according to a research paper, “The Gender Gap in Art Museum Directorships,” published by the Association of Art Museum Directors, women hold just 24% of art museum director positions at museums with budgets over $15 million and earn 71¢ for every dollar earned by male directors.

Through a unique collaboration with the Ohio Advisory Group of NMWA, CIA shines a spotlight on accomplished women artists with Women to Watch—Ohio. This exhibition, the last major show in CIA’s current Reinberger Galleries, will feature artworks by five women artists from Northeast Ohio who work in a variety of media including ceramics, tapestry, painting and drawing, photography, installation, and mixed media.

Read more about the artists here and listen to host Dee Perry interview two of the artists on Cleveland public radio, 90.3 WCPN ideastream, here.

All of the artists are nominees for the international Women to Watch exhibition in Washington, D.C., which opens on June 5, 2015 at NMWA. (Click here to read more about this international exhibition.) They were selected by Reto Thüring of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Rose Bouthillier of MOCA Cleveland based on the theme of women, nature and art. Women to Watch - Ohio includes CIA graduates Christi Birchfield (Class of 2006) and Lauren Yeager (Class of 2009), plus Hildur Ásgeirsdóttir Jónsson, Mimi Kato, and Eva Kwong.

Reinberger Galleries Director Bruce Checefsky is curating Women to Watch - Ohio with the assistance of Jen Rokoski, a graduate level curatorial intern from the Art History and Museum Studies program at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Rokoski was identified and engaged by Ohio Advisory Group member Catherine Scallen, who is chair of CWRU’s Art and Art History Department.

“We’re organizing this exhibition because women have been under recognized in exhibitions in this region and nationally and this is an attempt to show the significance of their contributions,” Checefsky said. “These particular women artists represent the very best and the finest craftsmen and artists in the region and have reputations that extend nationally and globally.”

“Cleveland Institute of Art was founded in 1882 as the Western Reserve School of Design for Women and has educated generations of accomplished women artists since then,” said CIA President Grafton Nunes. “It is particularly fitting that CIA is co-sponsoring this exhibition, which showcases five women artists, highlights the hurdles that women artists face, and aligns with a significant exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington."

Public Events

Women to Watch - Ohio opens to the public with a reception in Reinberger Galleries on Thursday, April 2, from 6-8 pm. As part of CIA's Lunch On Fridays series, the featured artists will participate in a public panel discussion on women in the arts on Friday, April 10, 2015, at 12:15pm in Aitken Auditorium in the Gund Building. Rokoski will moderate the forum.

The National Connection

The National Museum of Women in the Arts, based in Washington, D.C., is the only museum dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women artists through exhibitions, acquisitions, educational initiatives and archival research. Read more about this trailblazing museum here.

The Ohio Advisory Group of the National Museum of Women in the Arts provides leadership, guidance, and resources in support of the museum's mission and works to elevate the profile of accomplished women artists from Ohio. The founding members of the Ohio Advisory Group are distinguished women leaders in Ohio who share a passion for art and/or advocacy for women.

Co-Chairs and Founders:

  • Barbara Richter, NMWA National Advisory Board
  • Harriet Warm, NMWA National Advisory Board

Founding Members:

  • Victoria Bell
  • Diane DeGrazia
  • Marilena Disilvio
  • Diane Downing
  • Helen Forbes Fields
  • Susan Goldberg
  • Sally Gries
  • Shannon Lundeen
  • Ellen Stirn Mavec
  • Sharon Milligan
  • Kristin Morris
  • Sandra Pianalto
  • Barbara Robinson
  • Catherine Scallen
  • Eliza Wing

The Ohio Advisory Group of NMWA and Cleveland Institute of Art gratefully acknowledge sponsorship for Women to Watch - Ohio by Huntington Bank and media partner, ideastream, the non-profit organization that includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, and WCLV 104.9. Additional funding was provided by the Ruby Shoes Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.


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George Gund Building
Reinberger Galleries
11141 East Boulevard
Cleveland, OH 44106

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Cleveland Institute of Art is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.