Not to Give Early Birds a Bad Name…

Christina Yesenofski - Aunt Lori - zinc etching; 36 x 24 inches

July 9th 2010—Thrilled would be a terrible understatement in describing my current mood on this particular day.  It was  merely a few hours before assisting with my first art opening as an intern at Woman Made Gallery, and I was ecstatic. “Her Way With Print,” on exhibit through August 26, along with Fran Bull’s solo show, “In Flanders Field”, looked simply elegant and moving in the gallery space.  After weeks of preparation for the show, and experiencing the process of organizing the exhibit, I looked around the gallery and felt proud of the small contributions I was able to make.  Through editing artists’ statements and handling their work, I was able to become very familiar with the meaning conveyed in their pieces.  Throughout this process I was deeply inspired by these powerful works, created by talented and passionate women. 

On this day, I was working diligently on labeling the artists’ work and providing finishing touches to the show.  I stepped back to check the labeling, and realized there was an early bird who arrived before the opening.  I greeted him warmly, and continued working on my labeling duties, assuming he was too excited to wait a few extra hours until the opening.  The conversation that emerged between us however, brought me to believe otherwise.  I was asked why the gallery was only for women.  My response came with ease, explaining the necessity to have a space that empowers women in the art world and inspires women toward self expression.  The visitor did not seem convinced by my response.  He questioned further and stated that women have equal rights, so what’s the point?  I was taken aback by his statement.  Oddly enough, it has been a while since I’ve had to explain the feminist movement as it exists today, and the necessity for feminist figures to remain present within our society.  Hoping to conceal my flustered thoughts, I responded to the best of my ability.  I wanted him to understand why this space was important.  Important for our society, for women, and for me.  As I spoke, I could see him turning off, unconvinced and perhaps mildly bored.  So I smiled, and asked him to take a look around and enjoy the work. As he left, I took a moment, reviewing the conversation in my mind.  I smoothed over the letters of the label with my fingertips, and took another step back to examine the gallery.  And then silently, I thanked this visitor for stopping in, and for reminding me why feminist galleries continue to be so important and necessary in today’s society.

– Michele Finkelstein, Gallery Intern

One thought on “Not to Give Early Birds a Bad Name…

  1. Kim Laurel says:

    Well done, grace under pressure.

    Woman made Gallery is not exclusive but rather inclusive. WMG does have male members and many male supporters. I’m proud to be associated with an organization that fosters and supports women and the arts. The need for organizations like this will always be there. Independence, equal rights and freedom can not be taken for granted. The tides can turn in a blink of an eye.

    It’s interesting that a challenging encounter can make us all wonder about how far we have come and the necessity to preserve it. The very nature of his query indicates there is still work to be done.

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