2017 Symposium


NOVEMBER 2 & 3, 2017

The Art Department of Bradley University and Illinois Women Artists Project (IWA) are organizing the fourth biennial Midwest Women Artists Symposium to be held on the Bradley University campus. The event is co-sponsored by the University's Intellectual and Cultural Activities Committee and the Women's & Gender Studies Program.

The Symposium will examine the impact that Midwestern women artists of the 1960s and '70s had on their communities and on the evolution of American art. Many of the women used their creative skills and activities to comment on one or more of the social and political issues of the day, most notably civil rights, women’s rights, environmental conditions and the war in Vietnam. They were aware of artistic currents in New York City and on the West Coast, but often took a different path in their choice of subject matter and/or the media in which they chose to work.

The stories of these women artists have largely been left out of the scholarship on American art, and this symposium aims to correct that deficiency by examining the organizations they formed to exhibit and promote their creative activities; the social issues they addressed in their work and how that transformed their communities; and, how they were received by the press and other professional artists. Female artists who themselves helped shape the cultural life of the Midwest in the 1960s and 1970s will join scholars who have researched that period extensively on three discussion panels; their personal experiences will bring the period vividly to life.

Join historians, artists, writers, students, collectors and instructors in November 2017 for conversations and presentations. The Keynote Speaker will be Lynne Warren, Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Her talk, “Midwest Women Artists, 1960s to 1980s: A Stir of Voices,” will feature several case studies of Chicago-based artists, and contrast their experiences with those of their New York City and California peers, with the view to locating lessons for emerging women artists today.

Chicago-based surrealist artist Eleanor Spiess-Ferris will present a short talk on her career and work, some of which will be on exhibit in Bradley University’s Heuser Gallery. An exhibition in Hartmann Gallery will feature works by other artists participating in the panel discussions, including Christine Rojek, Jane Gilmor, Barbara Ciurej, Freida High W. Tesfagiorgis, Sandra Menefee Taylor, Arlene Turner Crawford, Fern Shaffer, Lindsay Lochman and Jane Stevens.

This symposium is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The symposium is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. This program has been made possible in part by a grant from the Eugene & Harriet Swager Fund for Public Art and the Taylor & Corinne French Fund/Fine Arts of the Community Foundation of Central Illinois.

Go to About and to Schedule for more details.

You may contact Kristan H. McKinsey, Director of Illinois Women Artists Project, for additional information at 309-677-2860 or at kmckinsey@fsmail.bradley.edu