Extended Practice Event Archive > Firsts and Starts: Navigating Art-Making as a New Mother

Firsts and Starts: Art Making as a New Mother
Closing Reception: Saturday, June 23 // 3-6 PM 2018
Roman Susan Gallery
1224 West Loyola Avenue, Rogers Park

Firsts and Starts: Art-Making as a New Mother supported artists who are also new mothers by providing an intergenerational meeting and exhibition space within the gallery. Visually, the gallery was divided into two areas (the two inextricable realms of the new artist mother): space available for children (below) and space available for creative practice (above). The delineation between the two areas became blurred as the space filled with our children and artwork. Exuberant lines drawn by children leapt up - and oh so close! - to the creative work carefully installed by mothers above. At every turn the space below is pulling from - and at moments harmonizing with - the space above. The chalk, crayon and baby blankets underfoot activate and transform the space, while also representing the unyielding presence of parenthood in our creative practices. Everywhere you look, you get a sense of the surprises and challenges of art-making as a new mother.

Self-identified new artist mothers were welcome to bring their children and their creative work to this space for a series of three meet-ups and several artist-supported installation sessions. At the meet-ups, we (new artist mothers) gathered together to discuss our individual successes and challenges. These conversations explored the day-to-day as well as overarching concerns: from how to manage childcare to how we define our studio practice. We discussed self-care and the ways in which our choices of material, process or scale shifted as we became parents. We recognized the importance of building community and looking to other artist mothers for inspiration or guidance. In our artist-led installation sessions we discussed individual art practices, projects and bodies of work while our children played.

In this space, we formed new relationships and professional networks. Practices, ideas and projects that had been on hold during the tough first months and years of becoming a new parent were picked up and pursued with renewed excitement. We shared new work and new ways of working. We held each other's' children and artwork as we weighed placement options. Together, we created space in the art world where there wasn't space before - space for uncertainty and power, survival and healing, space for women and children, for artists who are mothers.

Soheila Azadi, Araidia Blackburn, Lauren Flaaen, Noelle Garcia, Nichole Harrod, Sara Holwerda, Emily Lindskoog, Angela Lopez, Sally Paul, Jill Pridemore Matthews, Mo Bella Russo, Molly Roth Scranton, Johannah Silva, Raychel Steinbach, Tracy Marie Taylor, Corrie Thompson, and Hui-min Tsen