Midwest Women’s Center records

Inclusive Dates: 
circa 1975–1993
Survey Repository: 

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

106.75 linear feet (123 boxes) of material consisting of correspondence, memos, topical resource files on other feminist and women's organizations, and other working files of the Midwest Women's Center, an organization based in Chicago (Ill.) that offered job training, placement services, and literacy education to help women enhance their skills and self-esteem. Included are printed announcements and press releases relating to ARC Gallery (1978–1980) and Artemisia Gallery (1970s).

Biographical Historical Note

ARC Gallery, along with the Artemisia Gallery, was one of the first women artists’ cooperatives in the Midwest, opening in September 1973. The original members were recent graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other institutions in the Chicago area where they found few female mentors and exhibition opportunities and recognized that they needed to create safe space outside of traditional institutions in order to make their art seen. In addition to promoting their own artwork, they also featured solo and group exhibitions by many artists from across the county and more importantly, were the sites for discussion of feminist art, theory and issues for over thirty years. In 1979, ARC founded RAWspace, an area of the gallery devoted specifically to installation work by visiting artists at a time where there were limited venues for this type of art.

Artemisia Gallery, along with the ARC Gallery, was one of the first women artists’ cooperatives in the Midwest, opening in September 1973. The original members were recent graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and other institutions in the Chicago area where they found few female mentors and exhibition opportunities and recognized that they needed to create safe space outside of traditional institutions in order to make their art seen. In addition to promoting their own artwork, they also featured solo and group exhibitions by many artists from across the county and more importantly, were the sites for discussion of feminist art, theory and issues for over thirty years. After losing a major grant from the Jahn Foundation, Artemisia closed its doors in spring 2003.

 

Additional Notes

Related collections: Artemisia Gallery Records, ARC Gallery Records, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago.