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Woman's Building records, 1970-1992

Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.)

The Women's Building records were digitized in 2019 and total 56,567 images. Materials which have not been digitized include blank pages, blank versos of photographs, and duplicates. In some cases, exhibition catalogs and other publications have had their covers, title pages, and relevant pages digitized. The printed materials series has not been digitized.

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation. Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and Joyce F. Menschel, Vital Projects Fund, Inc.

Collection Information

Size: 33.5 Linear feet

Summary: The records of the Woman's Building feminist arts organization in Los Angeles measure 33.5 linear feet and date from 1970-1992. Originally founded by artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levant de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven in 1973, the Woman's Building served as an education center and public gallery space for women artists in southern California. The records document both the educational and exhibition activities and consist of administrative records, financial and legal records, publications, curriculum files, exhibition files, grant funding records and artist's works of arts and prints. A significant portion of the collection documents the Women's Graphic Center, a typesetting, design, and printing service operated by The Woman's Building.

Biographical/Historical Note

In 1973, artist Judy Chicago, graphic designer Sheila Levant de Bretteville, and art historian Arlene Raven founded the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW), one of the first independent schools for women artists. The founders established the workshop as a non-profit alternative education center committed to developing art based on women's experiences. The FSW focused not only on the development of art skills, but also on the development of women's experiences and the incorporation of those experiences into their artwork. Central to this vision was the idea that art should not be separated from other activities related to the developing women's movement. In November of 1973 the founders rented workshop space in a vacated building in downtown Los Angeles and called it The Woman's Building, taking the name from the structure created for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The FSW shared space with other organizations and enterprises including several performance groups, Womanspace Gallery, Sisterhood Bookstore, the National Organization of Women, and the Women's Liberation Union.

Provenance

The Woman's Building records were donated to the Archives of American Art in 1991 by Sandra Golvin, President of the Board of Directors. An small addition of a set of "Cross Pollination" posters was donated in 2019 by by ONE Archives at University of Southern California Libraries via Loni Shibuyama, Archives Librarian.

Related Materials

Funding

Funding for the processing of this collection was provided by the Getty Foundation. Funding for the digitization of this collection was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and Joyce F. Menschel, Vital Projects Fund, Inc.