Describe the main features of the measure/initiative:
Sheila is a not-for-profit foundation with a mission to overturn decades of gender bias by writing Australian women artists back into art history and ensuring equality for today’s women artists. One of its three focus areas is the Contemporary Women program. The focus of the Contemporary Women program is to provide practical assistance to artists through activities and events that support women artists to overcome bias and inequality, and through support of The Countess Report which provides supporting data and measurement of outcomes. Aims of the program include: • Ensure ongoing, regular collection of data on gender parity in Australian contemporary art to establish a statistical case for reform. • Develop advocacy campaigns and programs to improve gender parity and opportunities for women. • Devise programs to support the professional development of women working in Australian contemporary art. • Promote scholarship into women’s art by art historians, curators and artists. • Support lectures and symposiums to use as a platform to raise issues. • Build the representation of contemporary women artists in the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art and other public collections through a targeted acquisitions program. • Establish contact with like-minded international organisations and build partnerships and exchanges. Sheila has developed the following programs to support contemporary women artists: • An annual Fellowship for female artists at a critical juncture of their career to produce and exhibit work. • The Sheila Network – a group of artists, curators, gallerists and arts industry professionals to assist women artists to progress their careers. • Grants to the Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art to acquire works by women artists. • Partner with other not-for-profit organisations and large cultural institutions to help create positive change e.g. as cultural partner with the National Gallery of Australia for the Know My Name exhibition. • Organise and support symposia on topics related to women artists.
What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the measure/initiative?:
• Successful and ongoing collaboration with The Countess Report for the collation and release of well-researched and influential data to support the need for greater equality for women in visual arts in Australia. • Improvement in statistics for women’s representation in 6 of the 10 areas between 2014 and 2018 as measured by The Countess Report. • Practical opportunities provided to artists to progress their careers including Fellowship to Salote Tawale, annual acquisitions of emerging artists to join the influential Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, networking opportunities for artists to share information and workshop issues that hold back their careers. • Hosting of two symposia on issues affecting Australian women artists. • Positive feedback on the Foundation’s data and advocacy influencing change. • Acknowledgment of the Foundation by the National Gallery of Australia as a cultural partner in their all women’s exhibition Know My Name 2020-2021. • Increase in request for loans from the Cruthers Collection, evidencing an increased interest in the art of women artists. Other results observed that suggest positive change in the area: • Significant increase in number of works by women artists in commercial auctions and increase in their values. • Increased enquiries for collaboration from other arts organisations. • Increased interest in historical women’s art. • Increase in number of women artist shows in state galleries.