Visual Art

From London, A New Event Champions Female Artists in Miami

Written By Douglas Markowitz
May 24, 2024 at 4:05 PM

Miami gallery stops will be part of the agenda during Women Artists’ Art Week coming to Miami beginning Saturday, June 1. Attendees will get a preview of Paula Turmina’s new show at the Andrew Reed Gallery. Shown is Paula Turmina, Sun Worshippers, triptych. (Photo courtesy of the artist and Andrew Reed Gallery)

It may come as a surprise, but Miami’s art scene is remarkably friendly towards women. At all levels of the art world in Miami, women have found positions of influence and success, from collectors like Mera Rubell and the late Rosa de la Cruz, curators like Bonnie Clearwater of NSU Art Museum and Maritza Lacayo of the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and artists such as Jillian Mayer, Antonia Wright, Lynne Golob Gelfman, and countless others. Then again, maybe it’s not so surprising – Miami is the only major U.S. city founded by a woman, after all.

Now that Miami is considered an art world capital, people are also starting to take notice of how many of the city’s most celebrated artists and influential gallerists are women. That’s why Women Artists’ Art Week (WAAW), a London-based initiative that advocates for gender equality in the art world, decided to launch its inaugural U.S. edition here. WAAW Miami will launch on Saturday, June 1 and run until June 8, and according to the event’s director Alex Lane, it’s open to anyone, regardless of gender identity.

Artist Performance Night and Spoken Word at Laylow, London, Notting Hill,  during WAAW  in October 2022. (Photo courtesy of Tally Tucker)

“We’d like it to be as diverse as possible in terms of age, gender, different socio-economic and professional backgrounds,” she says. “Although the initiative is focused on supporting women artists, we want both men and women to participate. This is really an event for everyone to celebrate locals.”

Lane, who moved to Miami from Colorado in 2019, says the city was chosen in particular for its open, supportive community, which includes many galleries and institutions run by women.

“We have a great gallery community here,” she says. “It’s relatively small, but very tight knit and supportive. And the shows that our galleries put on are very high quality and important. We (also) have a very active museum community with lots of programming and studio visits, and it’s very community-driven, which is great from a partnership perspective,” says Lane.

She also comments that there is a thriving collector base in Miami with international collectors who live or spend much time here.

“And I’ve found that the collector community is also very open with sharing their work. So all of these things, I think, make Miami a very institutional, sophisticated cultural art community, but there’s a warmth to the city and an approachability that’s unique here. And I think that personality is a great complement to WAAW’s mission.”

Much of WAAW’s programming, most of which is free to attend and open to the public, speaks to this inclusive attitude. Visitors will get to pick the brains of some of Miami’s most notable gallerists, most of whom just so happen to be women. The week kicks off on Saturday, June 1 with a gallery crawl focusing on female artists. In the morning, Nina Johnson will lead a walkthrough of Jasmine Little’s Greek-inspired ceramics at her eponymous gallery, leading to a preview of Paula Turmina’s new show at Andrew Reed in the afternoon.

Jane Yang-D’Haene, Untitled XII, 2024, stoneware, porcelain, glaze, 11.5″ x 11″ x 11″. (Photo courtesy of
James Lowe)

Ceramics are also the name of the game for Mindy Solomon, who will discuss her gallery’s show of Jane Yang-D’Haene’s exploration of Korean moon jars. Solomon was the first gallerist WAAW approached to participate, according to Lane, and her guidance was crucial in determining the week’s format.

“She’s been a supporter of this initiative from day one, and she encouraged me to make this first year high-quality and a little ‘less is more,’” says Lane. “I think for our launch, it’s cool to have some female lead galleries as our anchors.”

Beyond the gallery sphere, other parts of Miami’s art scene will be explored. At the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami on Thursday, June 6, curator Amanda Morgan will lead a panel of local artists in discussing the Cuban diaspora and its impact on their work. The ICA is currently staging solo shows for three separate female artists, among them a major presentation of Cuban-American abstract painter Zilia Sánchez. WAAW will also stop by artist-run space Locust Projects on Tuesday, June 4 for a guided visit by Executive Director Lorie Mertes. The art center is currently showing Kerry Phillips’ new installation, “The patience of ordinary things”; Phillips presented new work at the Bass Museum last year.

Locust Projects will welcome attendees of WAAW to see Kerry Phillips’ powerful new installation, “The patience of ordinary things,” an immersive exhibition that weaves a deeply personal story. (Photo courtesy of World Red Eye and Locust Projects)

WAAW attendees will also visit artists in the studio. On Monday, photographer Anastasia Samoylova, who will show work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning in October of 2024, will open her Normandy Shores workspace. And a visit to the Fountainhead Residency, where three visiting artists are currently living and working, will close out the festivities on Saturday, June 8. A few private and invitation-only events are also planned, including a collector-artist social and a tea ceremony.

Despite the overwhelming presence of women in Miami’s art scene, progress still must be made on a global scale. According to Lane, only 30 percent of artworks sold on the primary market – that is, by galleries and dealers – are by women and female-identifying artists. Yet women make up 70 percent of art school students. Female artists often also face difficulties balancing work and raising children.

“There’s a lack of infrastructure and support for female artists to continue working and practicing, as well as starting a family,” she says. “I think there’s a lot of room for improvement in the ecosystem, and with WAAW, we’re really trying to improve this from a grassroots level.”

WHAT: Women Artists’ Art Week Miami

 WHEN: Saturday, June 1 through Saturday, June 8

 WHERE: Multiple locations throughout Miami

 COST: Free

 INFORMATION: instagram.com/waawworld and eventbrite.com/cc/waaw-miami-2024-3335259.

 ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music, and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com

latest posts

At The Frost Art Museum, Three Artists Make ‘Of W...

Written By Michelle F. Solomon,

At the Frost Art Museum, an immersive meditation on nature by three Miami artists takes on a life of its own.

PAMM’s Newest Show Explores What It Means to Be Chicano...

Written By Douglas Markowitz,

The first thing visitors may wonder about the PAMM exhibition “Xican-a.o.x. Body" is how to say its title.

Three gallery shows look toward tradition, our digital ...

Written By Karen-Janine Cohen,

Galleries and smaller venues have interesting options for the art-hungry this summer.