In conjunction with NSU Art Museum’s recent exhibition Belief + Doubt: Selections from the Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz Collection, NSU Art Museum Director and Chief Curator Bonnie Clearwater facilitated a conversation on the history of the Fort Lauderdale art space Girls’ Club with its founder Francie Bishop Good, Creative Director Michelle Weinberg and Gallery Director Sarah Michelle Rupert. The talk segued into an intimate and intellectual conversation about their most recent exhibitions and the nature of being a female artist in today’s society.
The January talk at the NSU Art Museum in downtown Fort Lauderdale was organized by the Girls’ Club—a nonprofit organization established by Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz that produces exhibitions and educational programming to inspire cultural growth in South Florida and nurture local artists.
While the phrase “girl talk” has often been associated with trite conversations in our culture–like talking about fashion and boys–this dialogue represented the opposite.
Women in the audience shared their deep thanks to Bishop Good for giving them an opportunity to display their pieces alongside respected and famed artists.
Wilma Siegel, an artist who lives in Fort Lauderdale, was one of the grateful women who shared her experience working with Bishop Good.
When Bishop Good first opened the Girls’ Club in 2007, she asked Siegel to make a portrait for the first exhibition Talking Heads. Her piece hung alongside the renowned portrait artist Elizabeth Peyton in the gallery. “Fran has been the person who made me realize I was an artist,” Siegel said. “Peyton is such a famous artist and it was such an honor to have my portrait hung next to hers.”
Weinberg said during the talk that one of their goals with Girls’ Club was to create more visibility for local artists by mixing their works with national artists. “These artists are on the cusp of greater recognition and need a proving ground as future artists and curators,” she said.
The group also reflected on how the Girls’ Club first came together. Bishop Good admitted, “I never plan anything…artists always collect and I realized one day all my pieces were made by women. So it all happened organically.” Good also commented that it’s hard to get an audience for women and that there is a need to feature their unique talent when so many art museums mostly showcase artwork by men.
Clearwater added that having Bishop Good and Horvitz’s personal collection in their museum, as well as work by artists shown in Girls’ Club, made it stand out as an exhibition. “It framed the core of the collection, and it’s so amazing that it’s made up of women,” Clearwater said. “So it gives the collection a very different narrative.”
The Girls’ Club talk marked the end of NSU Art museum’s recent exhibition, Belief + Doubt, as well as the closing of their (Girl’s Club) downtown location. Going forward Girls’ Club will transform by hosting their programming in various locations over the course of 2017, including multi-disciplinary events combining dance, theater, photography, and painting at the Miami-Dade College Campus and the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) among others.
For more information about the Girls’ Club, visit girlsclubcollection.org/.