Last week, I almost walked into Gloria Steinem’s office. Well, almost.
See, I was wandering around Seattle taking pictures of people when I came across a couple of stylish guys in front of an art gallery. I asked to take their picture, and they kindly obliged.
What I neglected to do was enter the gallery and check out the exhibit. When I arrived home I went to the gallery’s site and found, to my surprise, their current show is a feminist retrospective titled “Art and Artifacts from the Office of Gloria Steinem.”
Needless to say, I returned to Form/Space Atelier the following week to see what I had missed. The gallery is a small space, tucked into the lobby of the Low Income Housing Institute. The exhibit includes objects gifted to the gallery by the office of Gloria Steinem. It was as much a gallery as it was a museum.
An installation piece at the entry displayed an old typewriter with a seemingly endless roll of paper feeding through it—and I’m sure that’s how it felt to begin letter-writing campaigns—an endless job. The piece included two chairs with two coats hanging over them—to me, that represented the collaborative nature of the office.
I saw copies of letters Gloria Steinem wrote to people such as Jesse Jackson, and I saw prints of the iconic power stance of Steinem and Dorothy Pitman. Seeing the two women, whose backgrounds are very different, working together at the intersection of civil rights, women’s rights, and community activism helped me see the feminist movement as more inclusive than people give it credit. It reminded me that women’s rights are important to everyone and the results benefit the community—and country—as a whole.
As a quick primer, Steinem and Pitman cofounded the Women’s Action Alliance in 1971 and are longtime friends and speaking partners. They both work tirelessly to fight sexism, racism and classism.
Dorothy Pitman Hughes is a writer, speaker, activist and a lifelong champion for women, children and families. She organized the first battered women’s shelter in New York City.
Gloria Steinem is a writer and best-selling author, lecturer, editor, feminist activist and organizer, and co-founder of Ms. magazine.
I’m glad I had a chance for a do-over. I went back to see what I missed the first time I walked past the gallery. The experience reminded me to keep my eyes open and see the signs of art and feminism and community collaboration that are all around me.
The show runs through April 17th.
This is a fifth group post organized by the Feminist Fashion Bloggers. To see what others wrote, check out their posts.
http://jacksonville.com/ “Q&A with Author and Activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes” by Cristin Wilson, Jan 27, 2011