Every year in the United States, International Week of Black Women in the Arts is observed every year from February 7 to February 15. The week celebrates the achievements of Black female artists in various fields and finds ways to support them. This is also the time to discover new Black artists, promote their art, and raise awareness of issues that are unique to them. From music to painting and cinema, Black artists have made their presence felt with their remarkable talents. Yet they remain underpaid and underrepresented. Find out how you can support your favorite Black female artists and discover new ones.
History of International Week of Black Women In the Arts
In the United States, women make up about 51% of the population. Interestingly, they also make up about 51% of the visual artists in the workforce. However, women’s artworks account for only about 3% to 5% of current museum exhibits or permanent collections. Only about 35% of female artists have their work displayed in a gallery or solo exhibition. If these numbers are bad in themselves, then you will be horrified to know that Black women are treated even more unequally.
Female performing artists — musicians, dancers, actors — compared to their male counterparts are underpaid. They are also underrepresented among composers, choreographers, and scriptwriters. There’s also a serious dearth of women as studio, company, and record label heads, producers, and directors. This gap is even more serious for Black women.
In the literary arts, women authors get scarce attention and few reviews. The inequality is replicated by publishers and award juries. Readers are also less likely to read books written by women. This is why women still write with pseudonyms or their initials. Black female authors experience double discrimination in the underpaying and underrepresentation of female authors. Celebrations like the International Week of Black Women in the Arts aim to address many of the inequalities that Black women artists face, such as representation, earnings and reach. International Week of Black Women also brings to light the persisting issues of racism and classism and what we can do to ensure that all artists get fair and equal representation.
International Week of Black Women In the Arts timeline
The first Black sculptor in the U.S comes to prominence.
A movement to revive African American art takes place.
She wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Gone with the Wind,” becoming the first African American to win an Oscar.
A new school of African American artists emerges.
International Week of Black Women In the Arts FAQs
Who was the first female black singer?
In 1920, jazz singer Mamie Smith released a record called “Crazy Blues.” She was the first Black female singer to record and release a blues song.
Who was the first black female music producer?
Sylvia Robinson was the first black female music producer.
What black female singer sang in the ‘50s?
The most popular Black recording artist of the 1950s was Dinah Washington, who had more than two dozen R&B top 10 hits between 1948 and 1955.
How to Observe International Week of Black Women In the Arts
Support Black female artists
During the International Week of Black Women in the Arts, learn about Black female artists and the ways you can support them. Donate to their cause, buy their artwork, and spread the word about them.
It is well-known that Black female artists remain severely underpaid. During the International Week of Black Women in the Arts, you may help take active steps by purchasing works of art created by Black female artists.
Spread the word
Promote the International Week of Black Women in the Arts to your friends. Share information about the events on social media to encourage others who share your views to support women's art.
5 Facts About Woman Artists That You Need To Know
Rarely sells for a high price
Only two women have made it to the list of “Most Expensive Artists of All Time.”
Rare women’s artists’ works in museums
Only 5% of artworks made by women make it to museum walls.
Black art curators
Only 4% of curators are Black in the U.S.
Museum woman director
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has never had a female director; most major museums in the U.S. have never had female directors.
Underrepresented in the Booker Prizes
Bernardine Evaristo was the first Black woman to win the award in 2019.
Why International Week of Black Women In the Arts is Important
It celebrates Black excellence
The International Week of Black Women in the Arts celebrates black excellence, particularly among Black women. The week honors the long history of the arts in the Black community as well as the pioneers who brought it back to life.
It’s a fight for equality
The International Week of Black Women in the Arts aims to promote equality in the arts. Attempts are made to correct the underpayment, underrepresentation, and marginalization of Black female artists.
It encourages us to dream
The International Week of Black Women in the Arts also brings forth stories of the courage of Black female artists. It encourages us to dream and pursue the impossible. This is the week to rise up to challenges.
International Week of Black Women In the Arts dates