Women to Watch

View of the galleries showing several colorful, abstract metal sculptures.
Installation view of Heavy Metal—Women to Watch; Photo by Lee Stalsworth

Developed in collaboration with NMWA’s national and international committees, the exhibition series increases the visibility of artists who are working in innovative ways within a variety of creative communities.

Women to Watch features emerging and underrepresented artists from the states and countries in which the museum has outreach committees. Each exhibition focuses on a specific medium or theme chosen by NMWA’s curators.

The program began in 2008, and the initial exhibition highlighted photographic works. The second installment (2010) focused on figure painting while the third (2012) highlighted contemporary textile-based art. The fourth exhibition in the series, Organic Matters (2015), illuminated the ways in which contemporary artists re-contextualize images of plants and animals to reflect upon themes of sexuality, gender politics, the abject, and the sublime.

The series is a dynamic collaboration between the museum and participating outreach committees. Members of each committee work with NMWA staff to locate a contemporary art curator in their region to identify artists who are working in the medium or theme designated for each exhibition. The curator then creates a shortlist of artists, and NMWA’s curators select from the shortlist the artist whose work will be featured in the exhibition at the museum.


Past Women to Watch Exhibitions

JUN 28–SEP 16 2018

Heavy Metal—Women to Watch 2018

The fifth installment of Women to Watch showcased 20 contemporary artists working with metal in a variety of scales and techniques.

JUN 05–SEP 13 2015

Organic Matters—Women to Watch 2015

The fourth installment of Women to Watch examined the relationships between women, nature, and art.

NOV 02 2012–JAN 06 2013

High Fiber—Women to Watch 2013

The third installment of Women to Watch featured artists that turn fibers or fiber-like materials into textiles, sculptures, and installations.

JUL 02–SEP 12 2010

Body of Work: New Perspectives on Figure Painting

The second installment of Women to Watch highlighted contemporary figure painters.

MAR 14–JUN 15 2008 

Photography—Women to Watch 2008

The first installment of Women to Watch featured works by 11 contemporary women photographers.

read all women to watch coverage on the blog

    National Museum of Women in the Arts