In 2008 AJF awarded a grant of $1500 to a project called Women of Metal, which was organized by professors Susan Messer and Teresa Faris at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Being awarded the AJF grant gave them the credibility to apply for other grants. Susan Messer wrote to say: 'In May we were thrilled to receive notification of a significant grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. We have leveraged this award to raise funds on campus and we’re now immersed in the task of organizing the exhibition catalogue and designing the exhibition. The artwork that has arrived so far is exquisite. Teresa and I are both inspired by the technical range and aesthetic beauty of the pieces.' AJF’s grant has been put to very good use.
The exhibition features work by first and second-generation women jewelers/metalsmiths who have a professional and educational relationship to metals as an arts discipline in Wisconsin. The goals of the Women of Metal project are to celebrate the art work of women jewelers/metalsmiths in Wisconsin; to examine their work and its evolution and influence in the context of historic/contemporary metals practices; to explore and reveal relationships between art and craft practices; to consider the role of education and mentorship in the professional development of women in metals; to increase public awareness of the contributions of these artists to the cultural history of Wisconsin; and to inspire further scholarship into the lives and work of these pioneering artists.
To achieve these goals, project coordinators Teresa Faris and Susan Messer have developed a number of related educational projects and public activities concurrent with the exhibition, including an illustrated lecture, a panel presentation and a two-day studio workshop. In addition, the project will feature two permanent records: a comprehensive exhibition catalog and an oral history archive that will be housed in the University of Wisconsin library.
The exhibit opens September 9 and continues through October 18, 2008 at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater Crossman Gallery, Center of the Arts, 800 West Main Street, Whitewater, Wisconsin. Opening Reception, 7 – 9pm, September 9. Admission is free and open to the public.