Absolute Arts: In-depth Arts News

"Anonymous Was a Woman Awards 10 Women Artists with $25,000 Grants" December 22, 2004

Anonymous Was A Woman
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Anonymous Was A Woman has announced the 10 artists selected to receive the Foundation’s ninth annual awards. The “no strings” grant of $25,000 enables women over 35, at a critical juncture in their lives or careers, to continue to grow, recover from traumatic life events, and pursue their work. Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield, administrator of the program, explained, “Anonymous Was A Woman Awards have become synonymous with important recognition at a crucial stage in the artists’ careers. The financial gift helps artists buy time, space, materials, and equipment, and the award itself helps them feel worthy in their chosen pursuit.”

The name of the grant program, Anonymous Was A Woman, refers to a line in Virginia Wolf’s A Room of One’s Own. As the name implies, the nominators and those associated with the program are un-named, and artists are unaware that they are being considered for the award. Winners are often stunned by the news, once even calling back in the middle of the night to confirm that it wasn’t a dream.

Apart from the financial assistance that the artists receive, the grant validates their work and their self-worth. In a letter written to the foundation, an earlier recipient said, “I am in such gratitude for this money. It was such a great gift. Most importantly, it seemed energetically, to have broken the stagnation of my career. If I could just wrap my arms around the wonderful woman responsible for this, I would.”

Another previous recipient explained, “For a woman things don’t get easier as one gets older, they get harder…[I]n my experience, the backlash becomes stronger and stronger against those women who have chosen or fallen outside of societal norms in terms of career, marriage and family. I’ve never felt the weight of society’s judgment more since I turned forty...The grant bought me hard tools of the trade so that I could continue working. The grant bought me time. It bought me confidence…I wish I could get this grant again and again.”

To date, 91 women have received the award. Each year, an outstanding group of distinguished women – art historians, curators, and writers - nominate artists for the award.

Anonymous Was A Woman is administered by Philanthropy Advisors – A Service of UJA-Federation of New York. Philanthropy Advisors is a comprehensive consulting and management organization for private philanthropy.

For more information, call
Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield
212 836 1358
or write to:
anonwasawoman @ aol.com

The 2004 Anonymous Was A Woman grant recipients are:

Janet Biggs
Video Installation-
New York, NY

Moyra Davey
Visual Artist/Photographer-
New York, NY

Liz Deschenes
Visual Artist/Photographer-Brooklyn, NY

Jessica Diamond
Visual Artist-
Bronx, NY

Joy Garnett
Painter and Media Artist-
New York, NY

Elizabeth Lyons
Rochester, NY

Sarah McEneaney
Visual Artist/Painter-Philadelphia, PA

J. Morgan Puett
Transdisciplinary Artist-Beach Lake
, PA

Alison Saar
Visual Artist/Sculptor-
New York, NY

Carmelita Tropicana
Performance Artist-
New York, NY