Making space for women in art

When Peggy Levison Nolan began taking photographs of her children, she didn’t consider herself an artist.

“I raised seven children and didn’t really classify myself as an artist for a really long time,” said Nolan, mother of seven. “It wasn’t until I got some attention in the art world and began to wonder why people wanted to have my work on their walls that I began to consider it.”

Nolan is one of 19 other prominent local and international artists featured in the multimedia art exhibit “Making Space: Beyond a Room,” curated from the private collection of Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz.

Bishop and Horvitz founded the Girls’ Club in 2006, a private foundation that focuses on the exhibition of contemporary art by women.

Now, the Girls’ Club is accepting literary submissions for the closing ceremony of the art exhibit, which will conclude with a reception and live poetry reading, organized by Sofia Bastidas, Girls’ Club art curator, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 21, at Broward College.

“The connection between visual arts and writing is a part of this show,” said Angelica Clyman, interim Gallery director at Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery at Broward College. “Viewers are called to respond to the exhibition through poetry, and there will be a reading of these poems during our closing reception.”

Selected writings will be published on the Girls’ Club’s blog and performed at the live poetry reading.

“This interactive component will give us a glimpse of the power of art to inspire creativity in our community,” Clyman said.

Expanding from the ideas discussed in Virginia Woolf’s 1929 feminist essay A Room of One’s Own, “Making Space” explores how female and male artists define the space for female art expression.

“The starting off point was definitely the Virginia Wolf essay,” said Sarah Michelle Rupert, curator from Girls’ Club. “Reading it in our 21st-century view that we have, it is a bit alarming to see what is different and what is the same.” 

Rupert hopes that the exhibit will bring awareness to the writings of Woolf and to women’s issues.

“She [Virginia Woolf] was a prolific writer, and she wrote smartly about issues that faced women of her time,” Rupert said.

But though issues are important, Nolan says her focus has always been on the art.

“I don’t think that I’ve had a hard time in the world of men,” Nolan said. “I’m happy to be who I am and describing how I look at the world. I’m pretty excited that people want to see through my eyes.”

“Making Space: Beyond a Room” runs through Jan. 21 at Rosemary Duffy Larson Gallery at Broward College Central Campus, Building 6, Room 101, 3501 S.W. Davie Road, Davie; 954-201-6984

Aaleeyah Pringle

South Florida News Service