Women’s History Month


by Carianne Carleo-Evangelist, 03/05/2014

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March 8 has been celebrated as International Women's Day since 1913: the date was chosen to commemorate the 1857 protests that focused on abysmal working conditions in NYC garment factories. The holiday eventually became a weeklong event in 1980, and seven years later, following the cue of 14 states that had established a monthlong tribute, Congress declared March as National Women's History Month. New York City marks the occasion with a range of events. Highlights include the centenary of the founding of the International Garden Club (now known as the Bartow-Pell Conservancy) and celebrations of artist Judy Chicago as the provocateur celebrates her 75th birthday. In addition to discussions and exhibitions, the month includes events in a variety of genres: film, music, historical tours and otherwise. Read on for highlights.

March 1–March 31
Women’s History Month tours at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
The Intrepid’s annual Women’s History Month tours return this year with three tours that focus on different times and people relating to the history of sea, air and space. "Who Was Sally Ride?" honors the life and work of physicist and engineer Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel into space; this jaunt examines her influence far beyond her role as a pioneering astronaut. "The Real Rosie the Riveter" showcases the stories of real-life women—including Marilyn Monroe—who went to work while the men were at war. Although no women served aboard the USS Intrepid when it was in service, "Intrepid Women: Extraordinary Stories of Women in Sea, Air and Space" explores the role of women in the military from the 1940s to the present day.

March 1–November 16
Grandes Dames and Grand Plans: 100 Years of History at Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
The International Garden Club, the predecessor to today's Bartow-Pell Conservancy, was established in 1914. As part of the organization's centennial celebrations, the museum is hosting Grandes Dames and Grand Plans: 100 Years of History, an exhibition that tells the story of the women who influenced Bartow-Pell alongside art and artifacts relating to them. One highlight is a portrait of Mrs. Charles Frederick Hoffman (née Zelia Krumbhaar Preston), founder and president of the International Garden Club. The museum will also host a series of related lectures and receptions: a talk on Tuesday, March 18th, focuses on Cornelia Horsford, a pioneering horticultural preservationist.  

March 5
One Woman, One Vote at the New-York Historical Society 
The film One Woman, One Vote is the story of the 70-year battle for women's suffrage in the United States. The documentary explores the history, starting with Elizabeth Cady Stanton's call for women’s rights in 1848 and moving through the passage of the Constitution's 19th Amendment. Writer-producer Ruth Pollak will be on hand for this screening. The event is free; to attend, send an RSVP to koconnor@nyhistory.org.

March 5 and 12
Voices of Freedom: We Play for Marian at Arts>Brookfield Place
This free lunchtime jazz series at the World Financial Center's Winter Garden pays homage to Women's History Month with a showcase of pieces by jazz pianist and composer Marian McPartland (who also hosted a long-running jazz program on NPR). Artists include Emily Bear and Peter Slavov (March 5) and Joanne Brackeen (March 12). For more information, visit brookfieldplaceny.com.

Through March 7
Raisin in the Sun: Lorraine Hansberry's Dream on Broadway at the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Through March 16
Twice Militant: Lorraine Hansberry's Letters to "The Ladder" at the Brooklyn Museum
Lorraine Hansberry is best known as a playwright, but she was influential in other areas of American arts, letters and politics. Hansberry's seminal play A Raisin in the Sun explored the aspirations and frustrations of a working-class black family; with it, she became the first African-American playwright to win a Critics' Circle Award and the first African-American woman to have a play produced on Broadway. Now that the dramatic work is scheduled for another Broadway run—with Denzel Washington in the main role—Hansberry is being given renewed attention. At the New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, the exhibition Hansberry's Dream on Broadway shows documents and related ephemera drawn from the Lorraine Hansberry Papers archive held by NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. At the Brooklyn Museum, an exhibition highlights Hansberry's contribution to the gay rights movement. In her letters to The Ladder, the country's first subscription-based lesbian publication, Hansberry examined the parallels between the struggles of women, lesbians and African-Americans.

March 9
Judy Chicago with Elizabeth A. Sackler: "Changing Institutions" at the Brooklyn Museum
In this dialogue, the artist Judy Chicago and historian and social activist Elizabeth Sackler discuss the challenges presented by museums and art education curricula that are inherently alienating and biased against women. Chicago offers advice for emerging artists about ways to foster change while maintaining the integrity of one's vision, politics and identity, as she has done herself throughout her career. The program is followed by a signing of Chicago's new book, Institutional Time: A Critique of Studio Art Education.

March 9, 16, 23 and 30
In the Footsteps of Bridget Murphy: A Walking Tour at Merchant's House Museum
Merchant's House Museum was once the home of the Tredwells, a well-to-do family who lived there in the 1800s. This 45-minute walking tour explores the neighborhood around Merchant's House, digging into the cultural, economic and religious life of those Irish immigrants who worked as staff and servants for the Tredwells and other families in the area. The 1pm tour finishes in time to do the museum's own 2pm tour.

March 15
"Sentenced to Change" with Piper Kerman at the Brooklyn Museum
The Netflix program Orange is the New Black has become one of the most popular shows of recent years. At this event, Piper Kerman, author of the book that inspired the series, moderates a conversation with formerly incarcerated women who are now at the forefront of criminal justice reform. Panelists include Stacey McGruder (founder of the support group Sisters That Been There), Vivian Nixon (executive director of the College and Community Fellowship at CUNY) and Tina Reynolds (founder of the advocacy group Women on the Rise Telling HerStory).

March 15
Activist New York: Gallery Tour at Museum of the City of New York
In this tour, Stephen Petrus, a curatorial fellow at the museum, considers the emergence and evolution of social activism in New York, from the time of its origins through the mid-20th century. The talk includes a special focus on Irish-American and women activists. Preregistration is required; visit mcny.org for more information.

March 19
"Alice Austen: A Woman Ahead of Her Time" museum tour at Alice Austen House Museum
Alice Austen (1866–1952) was a celebrated photographer in an era when women were not well established within the field. She started taking pictures at the age of 10 and captured more than 8,000 images over the years, the earliest surviving plates dating back to the 1880s, making her one of the most prolific female photographers of the time. This tour highlights Austen’s contributions to history and photography as well as those made by her fellow artists.

March 20
First Annual Feminist Ball at Joe's Pub, in the Public Theater
This event, organized by the publisher Feminist Press, brings to the stage performers with a social activist edge. Writer Michaela Angela Davis hosts the evening, which features artists including Justin Vivian Bond, Brown Girls Burlesque and others. For more information, visit joespub.com.

March 23
"The Iroquois Influence on Women's Rights" at Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum
The story behind the origins of feminism varies depending on the source. In this talk, scholar Sally Roesch Wagner, a specialist in women's studies, explains how the gender equality practices of the Six Nation Confederacy—a grouping of Native American tribes—inspired the upstate New York women's rights movement. Preregister by e-mailing info@wyckoffmuseum.org; for more information, visit nycgovparks.org.

March 31
Musica Sacra at Alice Tully Hall
Musica Sacra, an organization that presents and performs choral music, celebrates Women's History Month with the work of two outstanding female composers: Jocelyn Hagen and Meredith Monk. The evening features the New York City premiere of Jocelyn Hagen's oratorio amass, which draws from traditional texts used for the Catholic Mass, along with works by Meredith Monk, including her 1995 composition "Nightfall." For information and tickets, visit musicasacrany.com.

The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago at the Brooklyn Museum
Throughout her career, artist Judy Chicago has created pieces that explore feminist motifs and themes while simultaneously offering a critique of the art world and mainstream accounts of history. At the Brooklyn Museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Chicago's large-scale installation The Dinner Party is one such piece. The work itself is a triangular banquet complete with 39 place settings, each of which represents an important woman in history. An additional 999 names are inscribed on the tile floor that serves as the installation's base. For more information, visit brooklynmuseum.org.

related venues/(8)

  1. 1
    Brooklyn Museum
    200 Eastern Parkway
    Brooklyn – Prospect Heights
    NY 11238
  2. 2
    Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum
    895 Shore Rd.
    Bronx – Pelham Bay
    NY 10464
  3. 3
    The New-York Historical Society
    170 Central Park West
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10024
  1. 4
    arts>Brookfield Place
    230 Vesey St.
    Manhattan – Battery Park City
    NY 10281
  2. 5
    Museum of the City of New York
    1220 Fifth Ave.
    Manhattan – East Harlem/El Barrio
    NY 10029
  3. 6
    Merchant's House Museum
    29 E. 4th St.
    Manhattan – Greenwich Village
    NY 10003
  1. 7
    Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum
    5816 Clarendon Rd.
    Brooklyn – Flatbush
    NY 11203
  2. 8
    Alice Tully Hall
    1941 Broadway
    Manhattan – Upper West Side
    NY 10023

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