There are many ways to help people in any type of situation. It could be by giving money, caring for people or pets, helping the homeless or being active in an issue that matter to you in any way. You can also attend events and donate clothing. There are many ways to help and to be part of the amazing charity world in any city in the United States.
In Chicago, as we have been talking about many charities and following the line of showing every single charity institution in the Chicago area, there is a charity institution that uses art to promote and help women that are in need of help. They do so by providing an art gallery and exhibitions and donating the money to causes that interest the charity group. Through this institution women have a voice and a vote in the art world. Let’s take a look at their work and how they are helping women artists in the area.
The Woman Made Gallery (WMG) is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization that started in the year 1992. From the beginning, its goal has been to support women in the arts and the art world by providing opportunities, awareness and advocacy towards topics that affect the community. This gallery gives importance to the artist’s identity as a woman and works portraying women’s experiences in arenas such as the international community, student life or activist life. The way to do this is to provide women with a space to show their creations and ideas. Also, WMG is committed to raise awareness on feminism issues that affect the community in general and on topics that address or recognize women´s cultural contributions in the community. It is open from Wednesday through Friday from 12 to 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 pm. They have 6 exhibition cycles throughout the year. The main services include: Juried Group Exhibitions; Invitational/Solo Exhibitions; Artisan Gallery Invitationals; Online Registry; Online Member Galleries; Poetry Readings; Annual Gala
WMG has the goal of cultivating, promoting and supporting the work of female-identified artists by organizing and doing all the advertisement for the gallery and their art. Also, the charity is fully committed with women to give them professional development and public programs that invite discussion about what feminism means today. This does not mean that WMG does not accept the art of men or any other gender. The idea is to address feminism issues through their work so women can feel empowered in their societies. More than 7,500 women artists have exhibited their work in the gallery with amazing public and financial results.
Although Woman Made’s priority is providing a platform for women’s artistic perspective, they have offered men a voice in the conversation. There was a show where men had a word on the feminism issue. It was called Men Define the Feminine and it allowed men to present their interpretation of femininity. Another show that included men in the game was the “Girl: Please!” show, which explored constructions and performance that have to do with the gender and it had a male juror to judge the art pieces or performances. In the words of Beate Minkovski, founder and former Executive Director, “There are not many places where women can express what they distinctly have to say, which was specifically not included, because it’s either boring or decorative or unimportant to bigger issues. So that’s why we’re here. Because it is important.”
The story started in 1992 with a show called ‘Man-Made Women’ by Beate Minkovski and Kelly Hensen; and in 1994 they received not-for-profit status and First Board forms. In 1997 WMG moves from Chicago’s North Side to Prairie Ave. in South Loopom and have worked non stopped ever since hosting 322 exhibitions, 174 group shows, 109 invitational/solo shows, 40 Artisan Gallery exhibitions, and eleven off-site shows and have received more than 7,300 women artists. They also offer stimulating and educational programs with a focus on women artists, performers and writers who share an interest in the interaction of the arts in contemporary culture.
Their mission statement is simple, addressing how they support, cultivate and promote the diverse contributions of women in the arts through exhibitions and other programs; and their Vision is to ensure the equal placement of women’s art in the world.
In the words of a very thankful artist that is convinced that the gallery really provides a voice and a showcase for those who have been underrepresented. “I first took a workshop at Woman Made many years ago and immediately thereafter became a member. The art I make today wouldn’t be possible without the support of Beate and everyone else at Woman Made”.
Don’t forget to drop by the gallery next time you are in the Chicago area at this address: 685 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60642.