Document 24: "Letter from the Board of Directors," Woman's Building Newsletter, June/July 1991. Author's personal collection.


   Reprinted below is the official announcement of the closing of the physical space of the Woman's Building.

W. B.     The Woman's Building
June/July 1991

Dear Members and Friends of The Woman's Building:

The Woman's Building will be vacating our present space on North Spring Street as of July 15. For now, while we will not have our own space for programming, we will have an office at the 18th Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica. From our new base, we will continue to organize the 10th Annual Vesto Awards coming up this October. With feminist art critic Lucy Lippard as the keynote speaker, it promises to be the best yet. Meanwhile, we would like to share with you, our supporters, what has led us to this decision to close our public space.

The Woman's Building has been both a physical space and symbolic home for feminist artists for the past 18 years. Like many arts organizations, we have operated hand-to-mouth for a long time. The Board of Directors has spent the last year grappling with the heightened fiscal problems of being an arts organization in the '90s. We have faced staff cutbacks and grant decreases. Our recent membership/donor drives generated less than one-fourth of our goal. At the same time we have witnessed attacks on feminism and a crisis within the movement itself. In these changing times, we have found it difficult to envision the future of this feminist arts organization while constantly confronting financial crisis. With our lease ending this year, we considered moving our programs to the 18th Street Arts Complex. However, we felt this would not truly address the fundamental issues we face. We decided instead to use this as an opportunity to assess the role of The Woman's Building free of the financial burden of operating a physical space.

This represents the end of an era, and we recognize that it comes with the sense of loss that accompanies all change. Yet we are pleased to tell you that we believe we have concluded this chapter in a way that honors our history.

One of our most important accomplishments has been the placement of our archives with the Smithsonian Institute through its Archives of American Art. For the first time our archives will be available to scholars on an international basis. In another major achievement, we relocated our printing studio to the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, where Woman's Building members can continue to use the presses and take classes at a discounted rate. Because womens' history is so often erased, we are proud to have insured that the extraordinary history of The Woman's Building will be visible at these well-respected institutions.

Also consistent with this commitment, the upcoming Vesta Awards will directly support the preservation of our history. The profits we earn will fund an oral history project which will include interviews with people who have participated, in a myriad of ways, in building this organization through the years. This documentation will be housed with our archives at the Archives of American Art. The Vesta Awards has always been one of our most inspiring programs and this year will be no exception. Mark your calendars: October 20th at 3.00 p.m., High Tea at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

We also invite you to enjoy all of our summer programs. On July 13th we'll host the second of our Hot Summer Nights dances. Don't miss the unrestrained humor of The Un-Cabaret on June 28th. And join us on June 30th for our Open Reading and garage sale—take home your favorite Woman's Building art and memorabilia!

The Board of Directors has made a commitment to continue meeting for the next year to envision new possibilities for The Woman's Building. We welcome your participation in this process. In closing, we honor you all and say thank you for all that you have done for The Woman's Building, for all of your support and hard work.


The Woman's Building 1991 Board of Directors

Ruth Ann Anderson, Carolyn Dye, Esq., Geraldine Forbes, Cheri Gaulke, Sandra Golvin, Hilary Hanft, Eloise Klein Healy, Chi Highes, Gail Krentzman, Laurie Lang, Rosalie Ortega, and Karen Sterling


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