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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 the Woman's Building records was provided by the Getty Foundation. Funding for the digitization was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and Joyce F. Menschel, Vital Projects Fund, Inc.

Collection Information

Size: 33.5 linear ft.

Summary: The records of the Woman's Building measure 33.5 linear feet and date from 1970 to 1992. The organization played a key role as an alternative space for women artists energized by the feminist movement in the 1970s. The records document the ways in which feminist theory shaped the Building's founding core mission and goals. During its eighteen year history, the Building served as an education center and a public gallery space for women artists in Los Angeles and southern California; the records reflect both functions of the Building's activities.
The Administrative Files series documents the daily operations of the Building, with particular emphasis on management policies, budget planning, history, cooperative relationships with outside art organizations and galleries, special building-wide programs, and relocation planning. Included in this series are the complete minutes from most Building committees from the 1974 through closing, including the Board of Directors and the Advisory Council. The General Publicity and Outreach series is particularly complete, containing publicity notices from most events, exhibits, and programs held at the Woman's Building, including brochures, announcements, programs, invitations, press releases, newspaper clippings, and magazine articles.
The Woman's Building's educational programs centered on courses offered by the Feminist Studio Workshop and the Extension Program. While the Workshop provided a two-year program for women interested in fully developing their artistic talent, the Extension Program offered a broad range of classes, specifically oriented to working women interested in art and art vocations. The records fully document both programs, focusing on the course development and descriptions, teacher contracts, class evaluations, budget planning, and scholarship programs. Although the Archives does not have the entire slide library, there are files concerning the establishment and administration of the library, as well as a few folders of slides.
The Gallery Programs series houses the records of the visual, performing, literary and video arts events held at the Woman's Building. Administrative files detail the daily operation of the gallery spaces. The files in the remaining subseries are primarily arranged by event and contain proposals, announcements, publicity, and artist biographies.
The Women's Graphic Center became a profit-making arm of the Woman's Building in 1981 but the typesetting and design equipment had been used by staff and students since 1975. The records in this series focus on the work produced at the Center, including general projects and artist designs and art prints. Many of the design and printing examples were produced for Woman's Building events and programs. Art work not designated as Center projects can be found in the Artist's Works of Art series.
The Printed Materials series contains relevant feminist and art publications not produced by or for the Woman's Building.

Biographical/Historical Note

Woman's Building (founded 1972; closed 1991) was a feminist art organization in Los Angeles, Calif. Existed to provide support and opportunities for women artists.


Donated by Board of Directors for Woman's Building, through Sandra Golvin, 1991. Five boxes of video tape were transferred to the Long Beach Museum of Art, Video Annex, 1994. Additional set of posters donated 2019 by by ONE Archives at University of Southern California Libraries via Loni Shibuyama, Archives Librarian.

Related Materials

Among the other resources relating to the Woman's Building in the Archives of American Art is an oral history with Suzanne Lacy on March 16, 1990, March 24, 1990, and September 24, 1990. While not credited as a founding member, Lacy was among the first group of staff of the Woman's Building which she discusses in her interview.


Funding for the processing of the Woman's Building records was provided by the Getty Foundation. Funding for the digitization was provided by The Walton Family Foundation and Joyce F. Menschel, Vital Projects Fund, Inc.