The Art of Traveling

Last weekend I attended a wedding reception at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.  I had never heard of the museum, but now know that it has the world’s largest collection of art by women.

Founded in 1987, the NMWA houses 5000 objects, hosts 10 annual exhibits, and runs public programs to highlight the impact of women in the world of art — and beyond. Works date from 16th century paintings by Lavinia Fontana to Cindy Sherman’s contemporary photography, Guerrilla Girls’ photolithographs, and sculptures and prints by Louise Bourgeois.

Another permanent women-only collection is the New Hall Art Collection at Murry Edwards College, University of Cambridge.  Among its eclectic works are an early 20thcentury drawing by Mary Cassatt and a 2011 neon Snoopy sculpture by Fiona Banner.

While equality is on the rise for modern artists, and some women prefer to be identified by their work rather than their gender, there are still imbalances to overcome in the art world. Some NMWA facts– about earnings, exposure, and other areas —  are truly illuminating.

It’s also true that the cities we visit have the power to delight us with treasures by artists from every walk of life. Whether you visit the Frida Kahlo Museum while in Mexico City, find time for the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, or make your way to the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden in St. Ives, Cornwall, viewing art enhances the experience.

Of course, there are many more museums dedicated to male artists — like the Munch Museum in Oslo, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, to name just a few.

Wherever you are in the world, experiencing pleasurable art has been shown to lower stress and improve health markers. Personally, I find great joy in the work of Swedish textile artist Helena Hernmarck, who lives not far from me in Connecticut. Her natural landscapes invite wonder and marvel; her colors both calm and inspire.

May we all find some art to uplift us whenever we are traveling – whether across oceans or closer to home.

Written by Ellen Harris, GMS, Product Manager, Content Group