Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo

Second Advisor

Lisa Cosgrove


Linda Nochim has posed the question why there are no great women artists? (Nochim 1988) While this question can be challenged as a issue of perspective, I attempt to address it as an actual phenomenon. What is it that limits the productivity of women in art? Historically, women in the modem industrialized world have been objectified and stereotyped, and I will present a brief overview that discusses the definition of woman in this context (Bohan 1993, West and Zimmerman 1987, Hare-Mustin and Marecek 1990), and also demonstrate this view has saturated society. As a first step to change, women must recognize the impact of this historic perspective on their attitudes, thinking, and behavior. A second step considers the research that the psychology of women differs significantly from that of men, and this can influence how relationships and priorities are developed in their lives (Gilligan, 1993, Bepko and Krestan, 1993, Miller, 1986, Belenky, et. al., 1986). These two steps attempt to define some of the internal conflicts facing women artists. In addition, I will also examine the material impediments women artist face. For example, Csikszentmihalyi 's (1991) research highlights obstacles many women artists encounter entering a predominantly male art world. The forces that determine the commercial success or failure of an artist are generally male-controlled, and this can add to the invisibility of the woman as artist (Mavor 1996, Nemser 1975). These influences should be recognized for the artist to make clear choices to exercise her creativity. External supports, with mentoring as an example, would provide compatible structure, both in terms of women's "ways of knowing" (Belenky,, 1986), and their need for connection. Through the combined strategies of metacognition as well as external supports, women artists will have another tool to find their voice in the world of art.