Volume 73, Number 50 | March 14 - 20, 2004

Women artists exhibit Downtown

Lower Manhattan residents in for a rare treat

By Janel Bladow

Villager photo by Elisabeth Robert

Emily Mehling, president of the National Association of Women Artists at the exhibit space located at 88 Greenwich St.

The Chrysler Building peeks over rooftops through a vase of bright purple irises. A very high heel shoe of stone sits primly on top of a pedestal. An armchair made of wire twists out words of “love.” These are just three works by women artists included in a national exhibit opening Downtown next week.

Works by 217 women artists make up the 115th annual exhibit by The National Association of Women Artists (NAWA), the oldest professional women’s fine arts organization in the U.S. The month-long show opens Thursday, April 15, 5 p.m., at 88 Greenwich Street, a restored Art Deco building, near Rector St.

The show features works on canvas and paper, photography/computer art, printmaking and sculpture. The artists exhibiting come from as nearby as Tribeca and as far away as California.

At the opening reception on Thursday evening, artists in several categories will be recognized for their achievements and awarded a cash stipend by the organization. The awards, ranging from $100 to $1000, total more than $9000.

“It’s a real challenge to get together a show of 217 pieces of all media, and make a coherent exhibit,” says NAWA President Emily Mehling. “But it all comes together.”

Last year’s NAWA Medal of Honor & Margo Liebes Harris Memorial Award winner, Naomi Grossman of Clifton, N.J., is showing one of the larger pieces, a wire sculpture of an armchair.

“The exhibit is open to all our members and is always held in New York City so it draws a lot of outlanders who want to show their works in the city,” said Mehling.

This is the first time the annual show is being held outside NAWA’s own gallery/offices. The exhibit is in a 4000-square foot ground floor retail space. The former office building at 88 Greenwich, owned by World-Wide Group, has recently been converted to luxury living apartments.

“This year people who like to work big have an opportunity to show. It’s unusual for us to have such a large, open space,” Mehling said. Her own piece in the show is an oversized India ink and gilded newspaper collage entitled “Good News.”

NAWA was founded in 1889 to promote the achievements of women artists through exhibitions, programs and archives.

A number of the artists in the show are from the New York City area and many live Downtown. Lower Manhattan artists Marie Leather, Madeline Segall-Marx and Alice Proskauer are among the exhibitors.

Southbridge Towers resident, Ellen Bradshaw, 42, submitted her dramatic sunrise painting from her balcony of the three East River bridges. “I selected this one because it’s a striking piece for me,” she says.

“It’s great to have the show Downtown. This is the best of New York, the richest and most interesting part of the city. I’m glad to be able to show what I do in my neighborhood,” she said.

Bradshaw, a graduate of Pratt Institute, recently had an exhibit in Tribeca of her New York street scenes at night. Her paintings of the Brooklyn Bridge and surrounding buildings have been displayed in the Bridge Café on Water Street since 1995.

“Our goal is to bring together these talented artists with visitors, potential patrons, and celebrate the flourishing artist community in Lower Manhattan,” said Mehling.
The NAWA exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm, through May 15. For more information, call NAWA 212-675-1616 or visit their website http://www.nawanet.org

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