Motivating Forces: Women in Arts Education

Richmond, Virginia
Deadline: Apr 1, 2020

Historically, many women have participated in arts education efforts out of a desire to improve their communities. Exemplified by Adele Clark’s activism in Richmond in the twentieth century, women have often led the charge to utilize artistic activity to engage their fellow citizens, provide new forms of education, and offer unforeseen opportunities to earn an income. These well-intended endeavors occasionally have caused conflicts, not only with those opposed to their proposed changes, but also with the groups that they are meant to serve. This session will critically probe women’s roles in promoting and shaping arts education in their locales, including the ways in which assumptions about these communities may have informed or misguided their actions. It questions the relationship of these endeavors to local cultures and artistic traditions, as well as how these roles have changed over time. To promote an expansive discussion, the term “arts education” will be considered broadly, and papers from all geographical areas and historical periods are encouraged. Possible topics include: individual educational figures, within and outside of academies; social circles of artistic activity; patronage or formation of arts organizations; gendered distinctions between amateurism and professionalism; apprenticeship systems or industries; craft traditions and their “revivals”; and religious communities and spiritual and cultural practices.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 200 words by 11:59 pm EDT on April 1, 2020 through the submissions portal at:

For more information about SECAC 2020, please visit the conference page at:

For questions or more information about the panel, please contact Elyse Gerstenecker (

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