Document 21B: Terry Wolverton to Marilyn Gottschall, 2 October 1986. Photocopy in author's personal collection. Used by permission of Terry Wolverton.


   Terry Wolverton was the member of the Woman's Building most responsible for its financial success. In large part her fund-raising success derived from distancing the Woman's Building from its radical reputation. This situation was highly ironic, as Wolverton herself had been a major force in the Woman's Building during its more radical phase. As she explained in this letter, a response to Marilyn Gottschall's letter of protest against the exhibition Gentleman's Choice (see Document 21A), changing times demanded that the Woman's Building change in order to survive.

   The names of the members of the Woman's Building Board of Directors, Ex Officio board, and Advisory Council on the letterhead are as follows:

Board of Directors
Maria C. Angeletti
Margaret Byrd Boegeman
Betty Ann Brown
Kimberly Crichton
Betty Decter
Bella Dilworth, Esq.
Ellen C. Geiger
Julia Gibson
Sondra Hale
Hermine Harman
Joan Hugo
Irene Krensky
Cassandra Malry
Mary Elizabeth Perry
Evie Rotblatt
Dixie Swift
Tina Treadwell
Jeri Waxenberg
Vicki Yerman

Ex Officio
Sheila de Bretteville

Advisory Board
Judith F. Baca
Leslie Belzberg
Robert B Burke, Esq.
Linda Frye Burnham
Judy Chicago
Johanna Demetrakis
Claire Falkenstein
Dr. Paul Parrell
Margarita Galban
George Geyer
Al Greenstein
Susan Grode, Esq.
Mary Jane Hewitt
Josine Ianco-Starrels
Ellen J. Jacobsen, Esq.
Maureen Kindel
Michele Kort
Bella Lewitsky
Honorable Gilbert W. Lindsay
Lynne Littman
Susan Albert Loewenberg
Bia Lowe
Patric D. Mayers, Esq.
Bill Melamed, Jr.
Deena Metzger
Tressa R. Miller
Carol Neiman
Joan Palevsky
Inez Pedrosa
Honorable Joy Pincus
Linda Preuss
Arlene Raven
Honorable Pat Russell
Betye Saar
Lisa Specht, Esq.
Judith Stiehm
Janice Stone, Esq.
Deborah Sussman
Honorable Joel Wachs
Jeri Waxenberg
Ruth Weisberg
Mitsuye Yamada
Peg Yorkin

1727 North Spring Street, Los Angeles. California 90012 213 221-6161 213 222-2477

October 2, 1986

Marilyn Gottschall
Director, Women's Resource Center
1250 Bellflower Boulevard
Long Beach, California 90840

Dear Ms. Gottschall,

Sondra has forwarded your letter to me, and it will be circulated to our Gallery Committee. I want to thank you for writing and sharing your concerns with us. As the person who thought up "Gentlemen's Choice," I wanted to write and let you know why the Woman's Building mounted this show.

First I think it is important to remind you that this show is the first time in thirteen years that men have participated in the curatorial process at the Woman's Building. I believe that our commitment to empowering women is clear, and that the participation of men on this extremely rare occasion does nothing to endanger that commitment.

Unfortunately, the Woman's Building suffers from a negative reputation that we are a separatist organization that is open only to lesbians and radical feminists. While we have always been and ever shall be open to lesbians and radical feminists, as a public institution, we also want to be open to the public. "Gentlemen's Choice" was an opportunity to make connections with a group of men who are active in the art world and who wish to be supportive of women artists, as well as to make a connection to the women artists chosen by those men.

I believe that the survival of this organization rests in its ability to reach very diverse populations with its programs. This is in fact part of the original vision of its founders. I would like for this organization to be perceived as a pro-women institution that is open to all segments of the public.

As for the name, we did not intend the interpretation which you took from it. Since this show was obviously a token inclusion of men, the title was an attempt at humor about reverse sexism, a la "Ladies Choice." Sorry if you did not experience in that context. We did not mean it to be elitist, and certainly not all of the men who participated are from the upper income bracket.

Finally, since you did not see the exhibit, you cannot know that it was showing at the same time as "Celebrating Our Heroines: the Postcard Project." This show features 150 postcards by artists and non-artists who were part of a series of free workshops. Each postcard is made in honor of a woman admired by its creator and the subjects include mothers and grandmothers, women from history, writers, artists, activists, etc. It is both populist and female-centric. I am especially glad that this exhibit was juxtaposed with "Gentlemen's Choice," as it offered a great opportunity for the audiences of both to experience the other.

Thank you again for writing.


Terry Wolverton
Development Director


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