Committee News: Friends of NMWA, U.K., Celebrates the 25th Anniversary

To celebrate the global mission of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the museum’s London committee, formally known as Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, U.K., staged a series of events. In London and then in New York, the museum’s extended community united behind the goal of acquiring a significant sculpture, New Bird II by Dame Elisabeth Frink, RA, to donate to NMWA.

Elisabeth Frink, New Bird II, 1965

Elisabeth Frink, New Bird II, 1965

In February, Friends of NMWA, U.K., held a spectacular event to kick off these celebrations—a gala and sale of work by seventeen women artists working in silver. More than 100 people gathered for the gala evening event, and a steady stream of visitors came to the London West Bank Gallery for the following day’s sale. Two of the silver artists gave talks and demonstrations: Ndidi Ekubia on “Traditional Silversmithing Techniques” and Kathryn Hinton on “The Craft of Digital Tooling.” Under Beth Colocci’s leadership, the artists had been carefully selected to represent diverse design styles, price points, and object types. There was something for everyone, from whimsical silver straws by Rebecca Joselyn to fluidly shaped candlesticks by Ekubia, to architectural jewelry by Ute Decker.

The Silver by Women artists generously gave 25 percent of their proceeds to the London committee’s Silver Anniversary Campaign, intended to purchase the sculpture by Frink, an important British woman artist who is not currently represented in NMWA’s collection.

But the gap would not be completely filled without additional funding support. Silver by Women donations raised about two-thirds of the amount needed to acquire New Bird II. Much of the balance has come from two sources: the many individuals who understand the importance of British women artists receiving greater recognition outside the U.K., and the cross-border cooperation with Kentshire Galleries in New York City. (If you would like to support this gift, as well as future acquisitions of art by British women for the Women’s Museum, please donate here: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/silverbywomen/54934.)

When they learned that participating silver artist Ute Decker had an upcoming exhibition in New York at Kentshire Galleries, Patti White, a member of the London committee, reached out to Sarah Bucknell Treco, a New York-based member of NMWA’s National Advisory Board, and they collaborated to plan an opening reception on April 18. The U.S. opening reception for the artist’s work was collaboratively planned as a celebration of NMWA’s 25th anniversary year. Kentshire generously donated 10 percent of the evening’s proceeds to the campaign, assisting in the acquisition of the Frink sculpture.

Kentshire Galleries co-owners Marcie Imberman and Ellen Israel, artist Ute Decker, and NMWA Deputy Director Ilene Gutman at the April 18 event

Kentshire Galleries co-owners Marcie Imberman and Ellen Israel, artist Ute Decker, and NMWA Deputy Director Ilene Gutman at the April 18 event

The exhibition opening at the Kentshire Gallery was both an intimate experience and an inspirational success. Kentshire principals Ellen Israel and Marcie Imberman greeted the evening’s crowd with lovely refreshments and a warm welcome. Then, NMWA Deputy Director Ilene Gutman spoke about the museum’s founding and the celebrations planned for this anniversary year, including the stunning exhibition of Revolution-era French paintings, Royalists to Romantics: Women Artists from the Louvre, Versailles, and Other French National Collections. Gutman also brought greetings from NMWA Founder Wilhelmina Holladay, who was being honored that same evening at the Brooklyn Museum’s Elizabeth A. Sackler Center, receiving a First Award for being an extraordinary woman and first in her field.

Artist Ute Decker described the conceptual origins and material selection process behind her distinctive architectural jewelry—each unique piece is made from Fair Trade gold or recycled silver. Her compelling vision fascinated the audience.

The successful events surrounding the Silver Anniversary Campaign organized by Friends of NMWA, U.K., underscore the common goals, strong ties, and tremendous cooperation of NMWA’s committees and friends in supporting the museum’s mission.

For their generosity in this campaign, Friends of NMWA, U.K., particularly wishes to recognize Farah and Hassan Alaghband, Monique Bahadur, Penny Baylis, Nancy Broadbent Casserley, Michele and Beth Colocci, Sarah Cooke, Belinda de Gaudemar, Clara Freeman, Lisa Garrison, Mercedes Hoffman, Hans and Jayne Hufschmid, Karen and Tom Kalaris, Evi Kaplanis, Janet Martin, Cassie Murray, Janice Sacher, Dasha Shenkman, Julie Skattum, Cornelia von Rittberg, George and Patti White, and Susan Zimny.

Friends of NMWA, U.K., would also like to thank the artists that particpated in Silver by Women: Susan Beale, Abigail Brown, Angela Cork, Ute Decker, Ndidi Ekubia, Shelby Fitzpatrick, Karina Gill, Jo Hayes Ward, Kathryn Hinton, Polly Horwich, Rebecca Joselyn, Marion Kane, Nan Nan Liu, Jane MacIntosh, Susan May, Emily Nixon, and Maya Selway.