In February of 2010 the College Art Association held the 98th Annual CAA Conference in Chicago, Illinois. Before the conference, panelist Joyce Owens took a moment to answer a few questions about the future of her art practice, the Women’s Caucus for Art panel she will be serving on, which asks “Are women only institutions and spaces still necessary?”.
1. Briefly tell me about yourself. What is your current role in the arts and how did you get there?
I am a visual artist, a professor and curator for my university (Chicago State University). Huge question; the answers start from childhood. I made art from childhood. Lucky for me, people thought I had “talent” even then and I was not discouraged from pursuing art. I studied art at Yale University (MFA) and Howard University (BFA) and have always taught in schools, city programs and camps.
I decided to start curating shows for Sapphire and Crystals when I was the artist who identified the venues, except one time. I had ideas I wanted to implement. It’s been about 8 years of curating for Sapphire and Crystals. I have co-curated shows with galleries that were not featuring S&C. I know artists from many ethnic backgrounds and enjoy working with a lot of people. I have also recommended numerous artists for exhibition opportunities.
I love making art in many forms, both 2 and 3-D and can’t remember a time I did not produce some form of art. I also have always been a writer…not that I identified myself as one, but I write. I have always produced art. Turns out people respond to a lot of it.
2. Is this your first College Arts Association Conference? If not, how many have you been to and how has it evolved over the years? If so, what do you expect from the conference?
I have not been to CAA mainly because I am always swamped with work during Feb., also Black History Month. I have read about the conferences and been to some others, so I am not expecting surprises. I am getting an award from the WCA (Women’s Caucus for Art) during the conference, which was a thrilling surprise when I first was told!
3. What process did you go through to become a panelist and/or participant in the conference?
I was asked, probably because of my work on my blog and other art activities in Chicago and elsewhere and may also be tied to the award.
4. What is the title and summary of the panel you are participating in? What is the topic you will be presenting? Who are some of the other panelists?
The Panel: Women’s Caucus for Art – Investigating the Need for Women’s Art Galleries, Exhibitions, and Organizations: From Our Center
Thursday, February 11, 5:30 PM–7:00 PM
Regency B, Gold Level, West Tower, Hyatt Regency Chicago
Chair: Janice Nesser-Chu, Women’s Caucus for Art and Florissant Valley College
Melissa H. Potter, Columbia College Chicago
Amy Galpin, San Diego Museum of Art and Woman Made Gallery
Joanna Gardner-Huggett, DePaul University
Beate Minkovski, Woman Made Gallery
Dena Muller, ArtTable
Joyce Owens, Chicago State University and Sapphire and Crystals Artist Collective
5. What is the significance of your panel topic? How does it apply to college art students and the greater art community?
We are asking if women-only institutions are still necessary. All women artists who have careers or trying to begin careers as artists may want to hear the possible answers and chime in. Being that it’s 2010 and not 1920 we hope that women’s rights are in place, but are they when it comes to art?
6. How would you describe the work that you create?
Figurative, and subtlety confrontational.
7. What are some projects you are currently working on? How would our readers go about seeing this work (online, in person, etc.)?
I curated a show at Elmhurst College in the Frick Center’s Founder’s Lounge that’s up now.
my website: www.joyceowens.com
Google “Joyce Owens” to see more.
I am working on several shows for Chicago State University, currently up “Bobby Sengstacke”.
8. What are some of the goals you have for yourself and your art career in 2010?
More national and international exposure, and always more painting!
9. Where would you like to see the arts go in 2010?
My blog addresses a lot of my concerns about art. I would really like more art criticism. By that I mean critical analysis, not demeaning or denigrating art and artists. Diagnosing art forms is a teaching tool that seems missing much of the time. Is there no bad art?
10. Lastly, what advice would you give college students who are thinking about a career in the arts similar to yours?
Ask questions. Work a LOT. Hang out at galleries and meet artists. Document ALL your work. Sign and date your work for posterity. Remember who you met in college and keep in touch with fellow students and professors. Think about other careers in art beside studio art.
Find out more about CAA Conference panelist, artist, educator and 2010 Women’s Caucus for Art Award recipient Joyce Owens by visiting:
blog: Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
This interview is also published on the Columbia College Chicago CAA 2010 Blog.