Support Women Artists Now

by Esther Emery

swan_logo_blackSpeaking of parents who kick butt in the theatre, it was Kirsten Brandt who first directed me to the Fund for Women Artists. Every two months I get a juicy “funding newsletter”  listing submission deadlines for grants, contests, residencies and festival submissions in theatre and film, with opportunities specifically for women specially marked.

I haven’t personally taken advantage of these wonderful lists, but I will. In fact, maybe script submissions is one of the “some day” tasks that I’m about to transform into a “this day” task.  In the meantime, I appreciate that every two months an unassuming little email says to me, “You really should be sending out your work.”

This month the Fund for Women Artists, “a community of artists and allies dedicated to celebrating and supporting art that tells the truth about women’s lives,” is organizing the second international SWAN Day. That’s Support Women Artists Now Day, and it takes place March 28.  From Executive Director Martha Richards:  

On SWAN Day we celebrate our global unity and also the
unique individual voices of the women artists next door.
There are thousands of talented women artists all over the
world who are making wonderful contributions to their
communities year after year. SWAN Day is a day to recognize
and thank these women.

Please take some time to make a direct connection with
at least one woman artist on SWAN Day. Talk to her in
person, give her a call, write her a note, or send her a gift –
do anything that shows that you appreciate her creativity.
There is tremendous power in these simple acts of respect
and recognition, and they provide models of the supportive
attitudes and behavior that we want to spread around
the world.  

Lest we think that a whole day dedicated to women artists seems excessive, Dr. Martha Lauzen’s recent study of women in film might put things in perspective. The Celluloid Ceiling finds that only six percent of the directors associated with the top 250 films of 2007 were women, and 21 percent of those films had no women at all in the key creative roles of director, writer, cinematographer, editor, producer or executive producer. 

A significant majority of creative storytelling in America happens from the perspective of the white male. We’re so used to it we don’t even notice. 

What should we do to celebrate SWAN Day, MOXIE’s?  We already have a “Love Raising” event just a few days before. That’s the reading of Labyrinth of Desire on March 23rd. We’re already honoring the purpose of SWAN day by creating a delightful evening of theatre that features a bunch of women, including female playwright Caridad Svich.

 What else should we do?