The History and Mission of Women’s Works

In 1985 Women's Works was created, a group of women dreamed of having a place for women to show their talent so The Workshop for Contemporary Artists created an collaborated forum in which they would see and critique each others’ work, share information on contemporary art issues, and support each other in the “sometimes insular work” of artists. The early members of the Contemporary Workshop included Lynn Carlson, Doris Davis Gallagher, Shirlee Estep, Rita Kay Halvorsen, Judith Nahill, Nancy Seidler and Alice White.

Because March celebrated Women’s History Month, it was chosen as the time for the first exhibit. Held in the McHenry County College (MCC) Library, Mary Kurtzman, an MCC English instructor, was the driving force behind the first program of it’s kind in McHenry County. In 1987, Carol Ann Harris saw the potential of a women’s art exhibit and created a juried competition that would include contributions and awards. Publicity was generated, rules were set, and in the spring of 1988, Carol Ann Harris’s vision was realized when Women’s Works was born.

Today, Women’s Works is a fine art exhibition that provides an opportunity for female artists of North America to exhibit collectively. Women’s Works fulfills the vital need for women to view their work in a larger context, allowing the artists to identify themselves as a larger whole.

We continue to encourage the area business community, in the spirit of good will, to provide award funds and scholarships which publicly affirm the value of women artists in impacting the lives of others. Women’s Works continues to reconfirm our worth as women artists.