Hamilton, Ohio – Sometimes looking inward leads to an outward opportunity.
That’s partly how the Women’s Art Club of Hamilton came into existence.
Correction. Is coming.
“I wouldn’t even say it’s even an organization yet,” said Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, one of the women breathing life into the idea of the group. “We’re still trying to determine who is around, who is interested and what we want the group to be and to do.
“Art shows always rise to the top of the list, but viewing art together, seeing demos, taking art classes, things like that – those are ways to attract women and learn from one another.”
To that end, the Fitton Center will host interested women artists at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 26. They will tour the gallery spaces featuring the 8th Biennial Fitton Center Member Show and can stay afterward to take a mosaic workshop with instructor Lori Farr.
The tour is free, but the workshop costs $11.25; guests must pre-register online here. Or call 513-863-8873, ext. 110 by noon on Thursday, May 26.
Rohrbaugh said connection is the key.
“I wanted a community of women to talk with about art after two years of working in a silo,” she said. “I have an online community – several of them, actually – but the tactile nature of doing things and creating things together is very important.
“Sharing each other’s experience and creativity is important. We want to see and share that energy that you can only get in the company of other people.”
“I appreciate that Hamilton has the art scene it does,” said Lindsey Hurst, a recent Miami University graduate in community arts. She met Rohrbaugh as a student working on her capstone project. Their friendship grew beyond the classroom and WACH is one result.
“It’s important to have a group of women artists who can share their work together in a supportive environment,” Hurst said.
“Historically women are underrepresented in art,” she said. “Women have a lot of obstacles to just practicing art as a hobby, let alone making a living at it. For women, art is often the fifth or sixth thing on the priority list and – if we get to do it at all, it’s usually between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when everything else is taken care of.”
The Women’s Art Club of Cincinnati – the oldest continually operating such club in the country – began 130 years ago because the Cincinnati Art Club excluded women. Its new Hamilton counterpart is less about excluding men and more about empowering women.
“There are different challenges women face, but more importantly there is a felt inspiration when women work together,” Rohrbaugh said. “There’s a sense of safety in being a women’s group. You often have to have a façade to succeed in business or some other parts of your life. I want this to be a joint collaboration where we can talk and create without that façade. That’s what will gain momentum, gain membership, gain power. The authenticity.”
The Fitton Center also will host an Art Show and Tell for WACH at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16. Keep an eye on the WACH Facebook page for additional information and upcoming activities.
Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture