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The 2015 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom will be awarded to the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Dec 18 2014

WASHINGTON—The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom has chosen to honor the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), located in Washington, D.C., with its annual award. NMWA will be the first organization in the United States to be presented this award. The prize will be awarded to the museum during an official ceremony on January 9, 2015, taking place at Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris.

NMWA was founded in 1981 with the singular mission to bring to light remarkable women artists of the past while also promoting the best women artists working today. Through its programming, NMWA directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art, therefore assuring great women artists a place of honor now and into the future. NMWA remains the only museum in the world solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative achievements. The museum champions women through the arts with its collections, exhibitions, educational outreach and public programming, advocating for equity for women by shining a light on excellence.

Chaired by Josyane Savigneau (writer and journalist for Le Monde) and accompanied by founding president, Julia Kristeva (professor at Paris Diderot University, writer and psychoanalyst) and Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir (honorary president), the jury consists of public figures from the world of arts and literature. The Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom was created to mark the 100th anniversary of Simone de Beauvoir’s birth by honoring women, men and associations who, in the spirit of Simone de Beauvoir, fight to defend women’s rights wherever they are comprised. The prize is supported by the Institut français, the Mairie de Paris and Paris Diderot University.

By awarding the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom, the jury wishes to make a contribution to international solidarity, reaffirm women’s rights around the world, guarantee protection for those who currently risk their lives and stand alongside them to defend the ideals of equality and peace.

“The National Museum of Women in the Arts is extremely honored to receive the prestigious Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom,” said NMWA Director Susan Fisher Sterling. “NMWA is dedicated to providing a platform for women’s free expression and filling the void in recognition of women artists past, present and future. The museum empowers women and girls through inspirational examples in the arts and connects great art and ideas by women to people around the world.”

Renowned feminist artist Judy Chicago has long supported the museum. “My study of women’s history made me acutely aware of the fact that women’s achievements, along with too much of women’s cultural production, have been erased, marginalized, under-recognized or in other ways diminished. My understanding of this tragic loss led me to devote my life to creating art that could help change this situation so that women’s accomplishments would become a permanent part of our cultural heritage,” said Chicago. “When Wilhelmina and Wallace Holladay founded the National Museum of Women in the Arts, I became a staunch supporter. I long for the day when women around the world are accorded equal rights, equal pay and equal recognition in all aspects of human life. Until our art museums, schools and universities fully integrate women’s history, experiences and perspectives into their collections and curricula, we desperately need our own institutions so that our contributions will be honored in the same way as men’s have been. My congratulations to the museum on this well-deserved award.”

“NMWA deserves to be selected as it is a completely unique place in the world, which shelters women artists, their works, their history and their narratives; encourages research and a critical point of view; and welcomes curators like me who try to change the paradigms in art history,” said Camille Morineau, independent curator behind elles@centrepompidou, an 18-month exhibition showing only works by women artists from the Centre Pompidou and the curator of the current Niki de Saint Phalle exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris. “I am proud to have been part of that history and hope to be part of its future evolution. Bravo!”

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