Midwest Women Artists Symposia

Every two years, starting in 2011 (with the exception of 2021), the Bradley University Department of Art and the Illinois Women Artists Project have organized an interdisciplinary symposium exploring the art, experiences and legacies of women artists working in the Midwest.  These are free and open to the public, but developed as scholarly  sessions led by scholars, artists and museum curators.

The subject of the symposia are women who made valuable cultural contributions, taught and ran businesses, established community organizations, participated in political debate, and raised children. There are wonderful stories to tell about their desire to create and their willingness to go beyond societal boundaries to do it. Their work is a tribute to the spirit of all women. Their lives enrich our own and make possible what women do today.  The symposia look at the works and share their stories — to appreciate more of the depth of our cultural history and support the value and integrity of women’s art.

Historians, artists, writers, instructors, and museum and community art leaders from around the country gather in October or November for conversations and presentations. The information is new and useful, and the spirit and inspiration of the symposium enjoyable.

2023  Women’s Work: Feminist Women Artists in the Midwest

This symposium will explore the experiences and achievements of women artists in the Midwest who have addressed issues of society’s marginalization of women, their exclusion from mainstream society, and their absence in most narratives of history and culture, whether doing so was intentional or not.

Catherine J. Morris, Curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, will give the Keynote Address on October 19. Her talk, A Shove in the Right Direction: Elizabeth Catlett and 20th Century Feminism will examine feminist art through the lens of the career and work of Elizabeth Catlett.

click on links inmediately below for:

2023 MWAS DESCRIPTION       2023 MWAS SCHEDULE     2023 MWAS REGISTRATION  (or go to bit.ly/488enJT)




2019   Midwest Women Artists: Champions of the Environment, 1960s to the Present

2019 MWAS Summary        Recording: Art & Place Panel          

2017   Transforming Midwest Culture and Society: Women Artists, 1960s to 1980s

2017 MWAS Summary

2015   Midwest Women Artists, 1940-1960: Discovering Their Work, Telling Their Stories, Learning from the Past

2015 MWAS Summary

2013   Midwest Women Artists, 1840-1940: Discovering Their Work, Telling Their Stories, Learning from the Past

2013 MWAS Summary

2011   Uncovering the Stories of Midwest Women Artists, 1840-1940

2011 MWAS Summary