Women to Watch

Women to Watch is a biennial exhibition program designed to increase the visibility of, and critical response to, promising women artists who are deserving of national and international attention.

Women to Watch is developed specifically for the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ national and international outreach committees. Every two to three years, the National Museum of Women in the Arts hosts an exhibition featuring underrepresented and emerging women artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. Each exhibition focuses on a specific medium or theme chosen by the museum’s curators.

An outstanding Massachusetts contemporary curator, approved by NMWA, nominates a short list of artists working within the chosen medium. NMWA’s curator selects a single artist from these nominees for the Women to Watch exhibition in Washington.

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Paper Routes / Women to Watch 2020

Paper Routes / Women to Watch 2020: The sixth installment in this exhibition series will focus on the transformation of paper into complex works of art. Paper is a ubiquitous medium that is made from a variety of materials, and the artists represented by the national and international committees in Women to Watch will exemplify this variety of production.

Women to Watch 2020 will demonstrate that paper is not always the overlooked support for drawings, prints, and photographs, but instead a medium in and of itself.

Lisa Tung, Executive Director of the MassArt Art Museum has selected the short list of Massachusetts Artists: Elizabeth Alexander, Carly Glovinski, Tomashi Jackson, and Youjin Moon. An exhibition of their work will be held at Gallery Kayafas, October 19-26, 2019.



Heavy Metal / Massachusetts Women to Watch 2018 - National Museum of Women in the Arts, June-September 2018

In this fifth installment of the Women to Watch exhibition series, artists enthusiastically investigate the physical properties and expressive potential of metalwork, long considered to be the domain of men. Featuring hand-built sculptures, vessels, and objects for personal adornment, the exhibition comprises innovative works by national and international artists.

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018 Committees, Selected Artists and Curators: Arkansas, Artist: Holly Laws, Curator: Matthew Smith, Arkansas Art Center; California (Southern) Artist: Kerianne Quick, Curator: Bobbye Tigerman, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, California (Northern), Artist: Katherine Vetne, Curator: Jenny Gheith, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Chile Artist: Alejandra Prieto, Curator: Gloria Cortés Aliaga, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes; Florida Artist: Carolina Sardi, Curator: Diana Nawi, Pérez Art Museum; France Artist: Charlotte Charbonnel, Curator: Alicia Knock, Centre Pompidou; Georgia Artist: Lola Brooks; Curator: Sarah Schleuning, High Museum of Art; Italy Artist: Serena Porrati, Curator: Iolanda Ratti, Museo del Novecento; Greater Kansas City Area Artist: Cheryl Eve Acosta, Curator: Barbara O’Brien, Formerly of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Massachusetts Artist: Venetia Dale; Curator: Emily Zilber, editor, Metalsmith (Formerly of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston); Mid-Atlantic Region Artist: Susie Ganch; Curators: Stefanie Fedor, Visual Arts Center of Richmond; Megan Rook-Koepsel, independent curator; Mississippi Artist: Kelsey Wishik, Curator: Pat Pinson, Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center; New Mexico Artist: Paula Castillo, Curator: Laura Addison, Museum of International Folk Art; Greater New York Region Artist: Alice Hope, Curators: Shannon Stratton, Museum of Arts and Design; Ohio Artist: Leila Khoury, Curators: Reto Thüring, Cleveland Museum of Art; Matt Distel, Cincinnati Art Museum; Peru Artist: Carolina Rieckhof Brommer, Curator: Sharon Lerner, Museo de Arte de Lima; Spain Artist: Blanca Muñoz, Curator: Lucia Ybarra, YGB Art and Factoría Cultural; Sweden Artist: Petronella Eriksson, Curator: Inger Wästberg, independent curator; Texas Artist: Beverly Penn; Curator: Virginia Treanor, National Museum of Women in the Arts; United Kingdom Artist: Rana Begum, Curator: Caroline Douglas, Contemporary Art Society

Emily Zilber, editor, Metalsmith (Formerly of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) selected Massachusetts short-listed Women to Watch artists Venetia Dale, Cynthia Eid, Linda Kindler Priest, Donna Veverka, and Heather White. Venetia "Tia" Dale Venetia Dale was chosen by NMWA Associate Curator Virginia Treanor for exhibition in Women to Watch 2018 in Washington, D.C.

An Exhibition was held for the five Massachusetts Finalists at Gallery Kayafas, October 20-27, 2017.



Organic Matters - June 5, 2015 – September 13, 2015, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

The artwork selected for the fourth installment of NMWA’s Women to Watch ground-breaking exhibition series recontextualizes images of plants and animals and redefines the relationships between women, nature and art. Historically, women artists were encouraged by society to take the natural world as their subject. Turning this archaic paradigm upside-down, the contemporary artists highlighted in Organic Matters actively investigate the natural world—to fanciful and sometimes frightful effect. Collectively, their work addresses modern society’s complex relationship with the environment, ranging from concern for its future to fear of its power.

Organic Matters: Women to Watch 2015 is the fourth installment in the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ exhibition series. Featured Artists & the curators who worked with NMWA’s Committees to select them include: Arkansas, Artist: Dawn Holder, Curator: Courtney Taylor, Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. California (Southern), Artist: Jennifer Celio, Curator: Corrina Peipon, Hammer Museum. Chile, Artist: Andrea Lira, Curator: Soledad García Saavedra, independent curator. France, Artist: Françoise Pétrovitch, Curator: Julia Garimorth, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Georgia, Artist: Jiha Moon, Curator: Michael Rooks, High Museum of Art. Italy, Artist: Goldschmied & Chiari, Curator: Iolanda Ratti, Museo del Novecento. Greater Kansas City Area, Artist: Lara Shipley, Curator: Catherine Futter, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Massachusetts, Artist: Rebecca Hutchinson, Curator: Jen Mergel, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New Mexico, Artist: Mary Tsiongas, Curator: Lisa Tamiris Becker, UNM Museum of Art. Greater New York Region,Rachel Sussman, Curators: Christiane Paul, Whitney Museum of Art; Dana Miller, Whitney Museum of Art. Ohio, Artist: Mimi Kato, Curators: Reto Thüring, Cleveland Museum of Art; Rose Bouthillier, MOCA Cleveland. Texas, Artist: Ysabel Lemay, Curator: Virginia Treanor, National Museum of Women in the Arts. United Kingdom, Artist: Polly Morgan, Curator: Lisa Le Feuvre, Henry Moore Institute.

Jen Mergel, Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, created a short list of Massachusetts artists:
State Finalists are:
Marilyn Arsem - marilynarsem.net
Sarah Braman - Sarah Braman
Rebecca Hutchinson - Rebecca Hutchinson
Nathalie Miebach - Nathalie Miebach

Virginia Treanor, Associate Curator of NMWA, selected Rebecca Hutchinson as the 2015 Massachusetts Women to Watch Artist for Organic Matters.

A reception was held on October 15th, 2014, at Liquid Art House, in Boston, to celebrate the four short-listed artists.



High Fiber - Women to Watch 2012, November 2, 2012-January 6, 2013, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Artists featured in High Fiber stitch, weave, knit, crochet, and wind fibers or fiber-like materials into textiles, sculptures, and installations. Their expressive forms center on the themes of nature, history, and the consuming power of making.

Since conceptual and feminist artists brought fiber art into the Western mainstream in the 1960s and ’70s, textiles have become central to contemporary artistic practice worldwide. Prior to the ’60s, critics classified fiber art as a cousin to craft. However, contemporary artists create what modernist critics thought unlikely: meaningful, visually compelling, and emotionally charged works of fiber art.

High Fiber is the third installment in NMWA’s biennial Women to Watch exhibition series, which focuses on artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. Featured artists include Ligia Bouton (New Mexico), Debra Folz (Massachusetts), Louise Halsey (Arkansas), Tracy Krumm (Greater Kansas City Area), Beili Liu (Texas), Rachael Matthews (United Kingdom), and Laure Tixier (France).

Jen Mergel, Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, created a short list of Massachusetts based fiber artists.

Janet Echelman www.echelman.com

Debra Folz www.debrafolz.com

Cat Mazza www.post-craft.net/catmazza.htm

Nathalie Miebach www.nathaliemiebach.com

Isabel Riley www.isabelriley.com

Debra Folz was selected by NMWA Curator Kathryn A. Wat as MA NMWA’s artist for the High Fiber - Women to Watch exhibition. Wat writes, “Debra Folz (b. 1979) incorporates hand cross-stitching into her machine-made tables and chairs, and she wraps shelving and stools with knitted cozies or pleated fabric. She eschews “assigned material identities,” applying and combining materials in unexpected ways to expand their meaning.” www.debrafolz.com

A MA NMWA Women to Watch Reception was held at Gallery Kayafas on April 26, 2012, and was attended by all five short-listed artists.



Body of Work: New Perspectives on Figure Painting, July 2, 2010 to September 12, 2010, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

The second installment in the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ (NMWA) Women to Watch exhibition series examines innovative approaches to a traditional subject; figure painting. Body of Work: New Perspectives on Figure Painting features work by eight emerging artists from the U.S. and U.K.: Mequitta Ahuja (Texas), Hannah Barrett (Massachusetts), Julie Farstad (Greater Kansas City Area), Nikki Hemphill (Arkansas), Jennifer Levonian (Pennsylvania), Kate Longmaid (Vermont), Ann-Marie Manker (Georgia), Rose Wylie (United Kingdom).

Dina Deitsch, Curator of Contemporary Art at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, created a short list of Massachusetts based contemporary figurative painters. The short list of MA NMWA contemporary figurative painters included:

Hannah Barrett: www.hannahbarrett.net

Ambreen Butt: www.ambreenbutt.com

Laura Chasman: www.laurachasman.com

Nicole Kita: www.nicolekita.com

Hannah Barrett was selected by Kathryn A. Wat, NMWA Curator, for exhibition in the 2010 Women To Watch Show. NMWA says, “Art history meets contemporary theory in Barrett’s (b. 1966) work. With a historically-inspired style drawing on traditions of portraiture, black-and-white photography and collage, her paintings feature figures of ambiguous gender.” www.hannahbarrett.net

A Women To Watch Reception was held at Gallery Kayafas on April 14, 2010, and was attended by all four short-listed figurative painters.



Women to Watch 2008- 32 photographic works by 11 contemporary artists, March 14, 2008 – June 15, 2008, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

Representing a collaborative effort between 10 of NMWA’s national and international committees and the museum, Women to Watch focuses on 32 photographic works by 11 contemporary women artists.

The exhibition was designed to increase the visibility of emerging women artists—from the United States and throughout the world—who are deserving of national and international attention. Covering a broad spectrum of themes, styles, and methods the exhibition introduces the viewer to artists from six states: Marita Gootee (Mississippi), Joan Myers (New Mexico), Lissa Rivera (Massachusetts), Zoe Strauss (Pennsylvania), Tricia Moreau Sweeney (Illinois), and Tarrah Krajnak and Wilka Roig (Vermont) and four countries: Valérie Belin (France), Jin-me Yoon (Canada), Elisa Sighicelli (Great Britain), and Paulina Parra (Spain).

Massachusetts curator Leslie K. Brown, from the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University, created a short list of five photographers.

MA NMWA were delighted that photographer Lissa Rivera was selected by NMWA Head Curator Susan Fisher Sterling for exhibition in the inaugural Women To Watch Photography exhibit. Lissa Rivera

A Women To Watch Reception was held at Gallery Kayafas on January 11, 2008, to honor all short listed photographers.