The Exquisite Uterus Art of Resistance Project
An example of arts based actives using collaborative feminist process, the Exquisite Uterus Art of Resistance Project raises questions about what art is, what it is for, what appropriate materials can be, and who can be considered artists. The EUP was initiated in the spring of 2012 to give artists an opportunity to enter the public dialogue around increasing restrictions to women's health care. Artists and educators Alison Gates and Helen Klebesadel decided to offer professional and amateur artists the opportunity to participate in this collaborative art project using the visual arts to address their concerns about increasingly limited access to good women’s reproductive health care as a result if the current political environment. The response was overwhelming, with over 200 art pieces from across the country and world contributed to the project. Plans are underway to create a website and catalog and to make it possible for others to participate in the digital part of this project. To date the exhibition has been shown at the following venues: Union Art Gallery, UW-Milwaukee; Armory Gallery, UW-Madison; Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, IL; Steinhilber Art Gallery, UW-Oshkosh.
Alison Gates, UW-Green Bay, is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Art Department and past Chair of the Women's and Gender Studies Program. Alison has served as Evidence Team co-leader for the campus' Equity Scorecard project. While chairing the Women's and Gender Studies program 2007-2011, she was elected to chair the Wisconsin State Women's Studies Consortium Advisory Council, during which time the WSC drafted the consortium statement on the importance of childcare at UW institutions. Alison maintains studio practice, and as co-curator explores opportunities to continue the display and promotion of the Exquisite Uterus Project.
Helen Klebesadel, UW-Madison, is an artist and holds twin roles as Director of the University of Wisconsin Women's Studies Consortium (WSC) and the Wisconsin Regional Arts Program (WRAP). Coordinating the WSC and its Advisory Council, made up of all 14 Women's and Gender Studies Departments and programs in the UW System as well as the Office of the Women's Studies Librarian and the Women & Science Program, Helen also co-chairs the annual Wisconsin Women's and Gender Studies Conference. As Director of WRAP she works to provide opportunities for non-professional artists in Wisconsin to share their art and expand their creative knowledge. As co-curator of the EUP she seeks to expand the project to include a catalog and website, as well as new exhibition venues.