NPR did a story last week about the gender gap in prices paid for art. I didn’t even know there was a gender gap in the art world.
What they found is that art made by women sells for an average of 42.1% of the price paid for art made by men. That’s worse than the gender wage gap in the US, which has narrowed, but remains at 82%.
Combine that statistic with the research done by the Guerilla Girls about the absence of art made by women in museums, art galleries, art collections, art magazines and art history books, and it looks like there’s a real problem here.
My initial reaction was surprise followed by cynicism and discouragement. Yes, of course there’s a gender price gap — why wouldn’t there be? Men’s work is taken seriously, and women are dismissed. Isn’t that how it always is?
But staying in those feelings has the potential to deter and derail me. I needed to find a way to move past them and find some higher ground.
Some people might choose to protest the inequality, and others might work to change things from within the system.
While both of those are necessary and useful actions, my choice is to focus on why I create art in the first place. I make art because the making of it brings me great pleasure, and if I’m lucky, my art will convey that joy to others.
Yes, it would be lovely to see my work in museums and art magazines, but that’s not why I create it. I create art to lift my own vibration and uplift the world. Everything else is secondary.
What brings you great joy? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them with us in the comments section below.
Coming soon . . . ArtWalk Ventura on October 6th and 7th! I’ll be in a PODS gallery at the corner of Main and California Streets this year, right in the heart of Downtown Ventura.
You’re also invited to the ArtWalk Collector’s Reception at the Museum of Ventura County on Thursday, October 4th from 6-8pm. It’s a free event with live music, lovely hors d’oeuvres and a no-host beer and wine bar. The exhibition in the Smith Pavilion is a preview of the art that will be shown at ArtWalk.
With love and appreciation,
Painting at top: “Trail,” triptych, 24 x 72 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas. This is one of my favorites with its silvery purple background and fun fingerpainting.
Hi, love your newsletters. This one is so timely. Women complain about everything these days. And that’s the difference. Women complain more than men. Men just do. Or don’t. Whatever applies. Women get paid what they ask for. Men just ask for more. Or send the application in for the museum exhibition or fancy gallery. Traditionally men had to go out and hunt the meat to keep the tribe alive. Women took care of the offspring. Made sense. In todays world, women can go out and do the same. I suspect evolution happens slowly, but we are moving in the right direction. I have never heard of collectors just buying from women because it’s cheaper and they are saving a bunch of cash. They buy what they like. So ladies, stop complaining and whining and do. Love your art, especially the recycled paint. Much success!
Actually, in a hunter-gatherer society women provided 80% of the food through gathering. Meat supplied through hunting was a very small part of the diet.
There is usually a ‘gap’ of unfairness …often against women. I do creative things & attempt to teach others to do creative things because it is HEALTHY & reduces stress.
If the stress of the gap is greater than the ‘reduction of stress’ we are attempting to accomplish, then there is problem.
It seems the more in age I become, the less patience I have for ‘just sitting’. I like to be up & moving. The only creative activity that keeps my rear in a chair is glass bead making. Everything else needs to somewhat portable. These include viking knitting, bead crochet, which can be done even while walking around lol
Other things….polymer clay work, Zentangle drawing, mosaics and more, are tolerable.
The activity helps me reduce stress by helping me to Focus Elsewhere. Which is my WHY for teaching.
I suggest ‘try it’ you just might like it
Sounds like you’re keeping really busy with a multitude of creative activities, Patsy. That’s fabulous!
What brings me joy is knowing there are people in this world like you. Thank you for all your insights; they are so much appreciated.
Thanks, Susan. And writing my weekly newsletter brings me joy!