Today I had the opportunity to check out WARM's Mentor Program exhibition that I am a part of (see earlier post). The exhibit is being held at the GrainBelt Bottling House in NE Mpls, which is a huge space that allowed for a number of mixed media installations as well as plenty of two-dimensional work presented on two levels (including three of my paintings).
The breadth and wealth of work is incredible. Eighteen Protegees, alongside their ten different mentors, began this journey nearly two years ago. The benefits of participating in this program were evident as I looked around the room.
Earlier in the day, I participated in an informational session for prospective protegees interested in participating in the next cycle of the program. I remember sitting at a similar table just two short years ago, nervous and unsure of myself. I wasn't sure if I really belonged, but I felt determined to overcome my fear and take this leap of faith.
Thirty years ago the WARM Mentor Program was formed by WARM (Women's Art Resources of Minnesota) to provide a differnt sort of framework to support and encourage the development of women artists. I felt the power of this framework today as I listened to the program coordinator speak about the benefits of women artists supporting other women artists, together finding solutions to problems we all face (such as juggling work and raising children while trying to make art) and together claiming our place in the art world.
The past two years have been life-changing. I can now call myself an artist without feeling the need to apologize or explain. I feel I have become part of a community that understands and supports my committment to making art.
Together we lift each other up.