#womencrushwednesday at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

 

On October 25, the National Museum of Women in the Arts held a special event inviting all female artists to come together for a historic photograph, followed by a resource fair for the gathered artists. In total, 465 women showed up at the museum, ready to meet new faces, share inspiration, and overall enjoy this night meant to celebrate women in the arts.

Walking into the museum wielding my iPhone as my professional camera to cover the event, I was expecting to spend the whole night too nervous to even speak to one of the artists. What would I even ask? There’s something almost overwhelming about being in a room full of such creative souls, each so confident in herself and ready to share a part of herself to the world around her. Upon entering the main hall where the picture would take place, my nerves got worse. I was awestricken by the number of women, strangers to one another, bonding with each other while waiting to smile for the camera. The marble staircases and beautiful chandeliers on the ceiling made me feel like I had happened upon some secret place meant for women to come together and take a small break from the harsher reality they face on the daily.

After showing my press pass (I’d never felt so cool as I did in that moment), I climbed my way up to the second floor where other people were covering the event. Trying not to feel too inadequate with my cellphone’s camera, I found an opening between a few photographers and started snapping a few pictures of my own. Suddenly, a hush fell upon the crowd. The event’s organizers, Kim Schoenstadt and Linn Meyers, stood tall and proud at the balcony, addressing the artists below. I found myself nodding along with the women’s words, especially loving how the event’s purpose was described as a night meant “to celebrate us and our work.”   

DC-based photographer Kim Johnson then called out to the crowd to move into different positions, as she attempted to fit every face into her camera’s scope. There was a lot of laughter as the women artists shuffled around to Johnson’s suggestions. Finally, once everybody was in place, my favorite part of the night took place. Counting down from three, the crowd yelled out a deafening, “WE ARE HERE!” I admit I’m very much a romantic, and I’ve always enjoyed those moments when everyone’s voices become one to share a common message. This was no exception. I stood still for a few moments savoring the slight echo as the crowd dissipated to converse, network, and generally be amazing people.

During the cocktail reception, I pushed myself to reach out to any of the artists around me and ask questions I forgot to prepare in my rush to make it to the event on time. As soon as I started interacting with the women, I forgot why I was ever nervous in the first place. Yes, these individuals are inspired and creative and unafraid to bare their souls in the art they create, but they’re also approachable, friendly, and willing to share a few of their thoughts with me while I attempt to type everything into the Notes app (I’m still new to reporting).  By the end of the event, I’ve met so many amazing people and I feel more positive and confident for future generations of girls and women. The empowering and supporting atmosphere in the museum that night is one I look forward to experiencing more often, and I hope the Now Be Here project continues into the unforeseeable future with even more success for the women involved.

Ahead are a few of the women I approached and their thoughts on the event, life, and so on. Also, make sure to check out the Now Be Here website to learn more about this incredible project! And if you’re ever in the area, I recommend visiting the National Museum of Women in the Arts to promote girl power!

Left: Cathy Guerra (Check her insta out @interiorstylingsbycat)

“I feel honored to be a part of history surrounded by powerful creative women.”

Right: Phylicia Ghee (Check her insta out @phyliciaghee)

“I’m an interdisciplinary visual artist, and I think it’s beautiful to be surrounded by so many other women artists, and to be provided with resources that will enhance our ability to use our craft and support ourselves and each other in doing so.”

Far left: Shaaron Farmer

“People inspire me! Any people ‘cause people are the best of what we have on this planet... sometimes.”

Center left: Zya Witherspoon

“It gives me joy to bring happiness to others.”

Center right: Sandy Adams

“This is an awesome moment to see all these women who are artists. What inspires me? There’s beauty in any and everything. It all inspires me.”

Far right: Joanna Finney

“Girl power through art is awesome.”

Left: Mickey Eisenberg

Right: Lea Craigie-Marshall (Check her out on Facebook and Instagram @bluehuestudio)

Left: Carol Newmyer (Check out her website www.CarolNewmyer.com)

“In today’s world, the power of women and the power of artists shine through everything they do.”

Right: Lisa Marie Thalhammer (Check out her website www.lisamariestudio.com)

“One thing art has the power to do… it has the power to change the hearts of the people, because the word art is literally in the word heart.”

The final, official group picture of all 465 women artists that came to the event that night (taken by the amazing Kim Johnson!)