Matrons of the Arts

Matrons of the Arts is a Museum-wide initiative that presents programs, exhibitions, and acquisitions by and about women artists. Inspired in part by the name five women artists project—and playing off the phrase patron of the arts—this campaign seeks to bring the public’s attention to women who have been and continue to be major figures in the world of art. While patrons are seen as advocators, backers, and boosters of art, matrons are left behind as stodgy dames and dowagers. We’re aiming to change the connotation of the word in the art world, elevating “matron” to champion, friend, and leader. A matron is no longer a passive bystander, but a fierce and powerful force.

By telling the stories of female artists whose work is in the NCMA’s permanent collection, exhibiting and acquiring more work by important women artists, hosting special events featuring female artists and authors, and selling merchandise that promotes women’s significant contribution to the arts, the NCMA joins the international drive to achieve a more diverse representation of female artists in museums around the world.

Women artists historically have been underrepresented in most museums. As the Museum continues to collect some of the best artists of our time—Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler, Susan Rothenberg, Elizabeth Murray, Alison Saar, Mickalene Thomas, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Zanele Muholi, and many others—we hope to challenge and change this oversight, beginning at our own institution.

To get involved, sign up for the Matrons of the Arts email list.

To learn more about the Matrons of the Arts initiative, please email Marjorie Hodges, director of external relations and special projects, or call (919) 664-6860.

This initiative is generously supported by the Calvin and Marisa Allen Foundation, Anne Allen Cheatham, and Lizzie Cheatham McNairy and Charlie McNairy.

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