A 70-year-old man wearing a light brown hat stares at a watercolor full of green, yellow and pink. The painting of a seahorse brings to life an otherwise pale yellow wall at the Bayard Cutting Arboretum.
From Sunday, April 9 to May 21, Women Sharing Art, Inc. will host an exhibit at the arboretum in Islip. Until that day, more than 20 female artists from Long Island will be presenting their photographs, watercolors, mosaics, pottery and sculptures.
“I feel it is women’s freedom of expression that is sometimes so internal and suppressed and the point of a not-for-profit was to help support these women to have an outlet,” Sue Miller, president of Women Sharing Art, Inc., said. “We want to provide avenues for women artists to nurture and encourage one another to further their artistic accomplishments.”
Their mission is clearer than ever, since women are still underrepresented in museums across the nation. At the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, only 7 percent of the artwork on display was attributed to women. Globally, it is estimated that less than 5 percent of the artists shown in major art galleries around the world are female.
For eight years, the organization has fundraised to give scholarships to female high school seniors who are interested in pursuing art. This year, they also awarded two grants to two of their own members.
“We make up greeting cards and with the sales of the greeting cards that feature our member’s art, we pay it forward and give a high school senior a scholarship to help defray the cost of what it is to be an artist in school,” Julie Kirk, attending artist and treasurer of Women Sharing Art Inc., said. “We have three $1,000 scholarship recipients today.”
Since the exhibit took place at the arboretum, most of the women showed work inspired by some of the natural elements that can be found on the 691-acre property.
“There’s a lot of nature, a lot of birds and a lot of colorful things,especially in the summer,” Carole Amodeo, an artist and photographer, said. “So I just kind of wing it in terms of landscapes and flowers.”
Even though it was primarily based on the theme of nature, a variety of pieces were featured. “It’s different types of artwork, it’s not just one modality,” Linda Blake, who was brought to the exhibit by her friend, Lee, said. “I love beauty, and I love art.”
Women Sharing Art, Inc. does not profit from the work of any of its artists. The money goes directly to the artist and/or venue. They rely on the help of volunteers to make sure that all of their functions run smoothly.