The Women’s Art Club of Hamilton is bringing local women together through creation and friendship.
The Journal-News asked founder Elizabeth Rohrbaugh, an artist and educator, to tell us the mission of this newly formed group.
“I started the Women’s Art Club of Hamilton because I was really yearning for a community of artistic women. As artists, we tend to work in isolation for the majority of our time, and we face some unique challenges in our work, that potentially other people, spouses and friends wouldn’t understand. So, the impetus grew from that,” Rohrbaugh said.
Initially, she presented the project to a capstone class at Miami University Hamilton, and she worked with Lindsey Hurst, who was a senior then, to do some background research in the community, to talk with some key players, and to get a sense of whether there was an interest in the idea.
“In every step of the way since then, there’s been positive momentum. So, the club was formed officially in May of last year and we’ve been meeting at least monthly on a variety of evenings and doing a broad range of activities from visiting a stained-glass art studio, to artist talks, or art instruction and demonstration,” she said.
Rohrbaugh is a lifelong, self-taught artist, who paints in acrylic, oil and watercolor. For her, the club has offered community, friendship and learning opportunities, which she said was hard to come by after the pandemic. Even with the explosion of Zoom and online meetings, there was still something missing.
“I missed that face-to-face community involvement and understanding that you can get from artistic women, and the challenges that we face. Some of that is in our artistic work, and some of that is in a work-life balance situation,” she said.
Comprised of a diverse group, the Women’s Art Club of Hamilton has quickly gained support from artists, members of the community and art institutions alike.
“We’ve had a really positive response, and we’ve received incredible support from the Fitton Center, and their staff, and The Strauss Gallery, and their staff. So, we’ve bonded and formed some strong relationships there. And the response from the women artists has been consistently strong,” Rohrbaugh said.
We want this to be broad, and wide-reaching, so that we have some diversity in ages of women that come, and varied experience in their artistic journeys, she said, and by not selecting one particular night a month, the club has enabled artists to come, according to their schedules.
“We have about 90 people on our email distribution list, and we consistently get 15 to 20 people attending the meetings,” Rohrbaugh said.
The club’s mission is to use art as a common denominator that connects community members, encourages growth in artistic appreciation, craft and conception, and artistically enriches the community. While the monthly meeting place varies, the club often holds its monthly meetings at area Hamilton businesses.
“This group has really fed and nourished some of the women that have come. They speak of making new friends, and learning something at every event that we’ve had. So, I think that’s the goal as we continue to grow, to just keep fostering that community, friendship and artistic connection,” Rohrbaugh said.
The Women’s Art Club of Hamilton will present its first exhibition, “New Views” as a dual venue exhibition at The Strauss Gallery and Fitton Center for Creative Arts. The dual-venue exhibition will debut with a gallery opening, starting at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The exhibition will be on view through Mar. 3. More than 50 local women artists will have more than 200 artworks on display.
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