Between the months of October and December 1977, a multi-media arts festival and celebration of work by women artists offered exhibitions of the visual arts and literary, musical, dramatic and dance performances.
Co-ordinated by a community organization of women artists, this inter-disciplinary art festival was designed to acquaint the public with the artistic and cultural contributions of women in the Central Texas area and offer a unique opportunity for the public to focus on women’s rich cultural and ethnic heritage.
Although the festival highlighted the work of local artists, a series of six symposia also featured nationally known artists, curators, and critics who shared their diverse cultural perspectives with the symposia audience.
A Multi-Media Art Festival & Celebration of Women & Their Work Including Drama, Dance, Music & the Visual Arts
This document consists of photographs, an evaluation and edited notes transcribed from a series of six symposia, an integral part of Women and Their Work’s Festival of the Arts.
“The speakers who participated in the symposia are art/cultural workers, many of whom are involved in the Women’s Movement, from the East and West Coast, as well as from Austin and central Texas. They came together: to help form a network of women working to identify women’s issues and concerns; to create new institutions responsive to women’s needs; to form links with local and national art/cultural, governmental, and educational institutions; and to speak personally of their own lives, their cultural concerns, and their creative processes.
WOMEN AND THEIR WORK’s Festival of the Arts, planned since February of 1976 and implemented from October 15 through December 2, 1977, by nearly five hundred women artists, addressed these issues and offered as well, honoraria, space, and publicity for local artists to perform, read, and exhibit their work for an estimated audience of nearly twenty thousand people.
As a continuing part of its goal to encourage women art/cultural workers to achieve public recognition for their work and to form cooperative and mutually stimulating support groups Women and Their Work, after its successful Festival of the Arts, decided to incorporate. It now functions as an umbrella organization open to the participation of all women art/cultural workers who identify with the goals and by-laws stated in its charter.
The process of formulating the Festival and the umbrella organization has been long, often arduous, often pleasing. The coordinators of WOMEN AND THEIR WORK wish to thank the Texas Committee for the Humanities and Public Policy, particularly Jim Veninga and Walter Cox and their board members for funding the symposia series. We also owe a debt of gratitude to other Festival funding and support institutions as well as to Laurence Miller and the Laguna Gloria Art Museum staff who were delightful to work with, to the Texas Commission on the Arts and Humanities, to the City of Austin, to IBM and the Lola B. Wright Foundation. We will never be able to thank adequately the art/cultural workers who participated in the Festival for their time, energy, wisdom and their work. Last but not least, roses to our many supportive friends.”[signed] Carol Taylor, Rita Starpattern, Deanna Stevenson
This series was endorsed by Afro-American Players, Austin City Council, Austin Community Television, Austin Symphony, Austin Women’s Center, Center Stage, Commission on the Status of Women, Laguna Gloria Art Museum, Mexican-American Business & Professional Women’s Association, University “Y,” Womenspace.