The Friends of the National Museum of Women in the Arts – Canada are dedicated to furthering the mission of the NMWA by recognizing, celebrating and promoting the work of women artists in Western Canada.
The National Museum of Women in the Arts contains the single most important collection of visual art by women in the world.
The Museum´s founder, Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and her husband, Wallace F. Holladay, began collecting art in the 1960´s, just as scholars were beginning to discuss the under-representation of women in museum collections and major art exhibitions. Upon learning that definitive art history books contained no references to women artists, the Holladays committed themselves to collecting artwork by women and eventually to creating a museum and research center in Washington, D.C. focusing on the collection and display of art by women.
The Museum is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. In November, Mrs. Holladay was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Bush and the Legion of Honour from the French Government. The anniversary will be marked by several special events including an exhibition of Italian Women Artists from Renaissance to Baroque and La Bella Notte gala celebration at the Museum in April.
Since its opening, the Museum has presented more than 200 exhibitions. NMWA´s permanent collection of over 3,500 pieces features works from the 16th century to the present including pieces by Judith Leyster, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O´Keeffe, Frida Kahlo and Helen Frankenthaler. The Library & Research Center has just launched Clara: Database of Women Artists with web-accessible information on over 18,000 women artists. The Museum pursues arts education through workshops, festivals, a literary series, music and film programs and a magazine designed to recognize the creative accomplishments of women. NMWA has over 35,000 members, placing it in the top 10 percent of museum memberships in the U.S.
The Museum also has outreach programs through its network of over 20 national and international committees that further the mission of bringing recognition to the achievements of women artists of all periods and nationalities by exhibiting, preserving, acquiring and researching art by women, and by educating the public concerning their accomplishments.