Press Releases

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz


Lt. Governor Bysiewicz Celebrates Women’s History Month with Launch of New Initiative to Recognize Female Art Leaders and Inspire Young Girls to Pursue Careers and Degrees in the Arts

Launch of the Women and Girls in the Arts Virtual Gallery will showcase prominent local and national female visual artists, performers, authors and designers

Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz, state Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Sibongile Magubane, Office of Higher Education Executive Director Tim Larson, the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, and President of Paier College Joe M. Bierbaum are celebrating Women’s History Month by launching a new initiative that will recognize the invaluable contributions of local and national female art leaders, and inspire the next generation of young girls to pursue a degree or career in the arts.

Throughout Women's History Month, the Women and Girls in the Arts Virtual Gallery and speaker series will showcase a prominent local and or national female visual artist, performer, author or designer and their contributions to Connecticut’s arts community. The gallery is also displaying artistic works submitted by Connecticut students and female residents.

A data analysis of 18 major U.S. art museums found their collections are 87 percent male and 85 percent white, according to the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Only eight percent of galleries represent more women than men, and the pay gap between the top male and female artists is $5 billion.

“For too long, women have been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. Through this initiative, the Women and Girls in the Arts Gallery can help inspire more women to pursue degrees and careers in the arts field by introducing them to female trailblazers who have made a lasting impact through the written word, paintings and drawings, song, or theatre. By giving our young girls inspirational figures to follow in the footsteps of, we can show them that if someone who looks like them can become a renowned painter, an award-winning author or poet, or celebrated performer, they too can achieve their dreams and leave a meaningful impact on the arts community,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz.

“Long standing biases and gender stereotypes are steering girls away from science, technology, education, arts and mathematics (STEAM) related fields. Our focus is to raise awareness of female artists to normalize careers in the arts,” said Commissioner Magubane, who serves as co-chairwoman of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls: Subcommittee on Education and STEAM.

“The events will celebrate female artists of all kinds and give us a unique look at these accomplished women and their craft,” said Larson, who serves as co-chairman of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls: Subcommittee on Education and STEAM.

“When we hear the phrase 'the Arts' used to describe our world, it serves as a catch-all which unfortunately doesn't begin to describe the talent, the diversity, nor the inspiration behind each piece, performance, and person in that world. In March, we celebrate this artistic diversity and talent among our women and girls specifically and intentionally. I am so proud to have the opportunity to help develop this month-long celebration. In an effort to highlight the legacy and impact of these women, we have engaged members of our community and developed a showcase that only begins to scratch the surface, but we are nonetheless humbled and filled with admiration at the beauty they have added to our communities. We hope that this inspires and empowers the next generation of girls to embrace their art, and continue to make it a more beautiful world,” said Paier College President Bierbaum.

“Over the next month, I encourage Connecticut educators to utilize the gallery and to incorporate yearlong the noble and important role of women in the arts as it relates not only to the teaching of the arts but to the teaching of Social Studies, History, Language Arts and other disciplines,” said Dr. Dee Hansen, President of the Connecticut Arts Administers Association.

The Governor’s Council on Women and Girls, which is chaired by Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and vice chaired by Office of Policy and Management Secretary Melissa McCaw, was created in January 2019 to provide a coordinated state response to issues impacting the lives of women, girls, their families and the State of Connecticut. The council has been focusing its work on four areas of impact: education and STEAM; economic opportunity and workforce equity; leadership; and health and safety.

The gallery is inspired by the work of the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls: Subcommittee on Education and STEAM.

On Tuesday, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz unveiled the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls’ 2021 legislative agenda which proposes legislation aimed at helping to uplift women and families across the state and creating more opportunities for women and girls to succeed in school and in the workplace.

During the 2021 legislative session, the Council on Women and Girls is supporting six bills that aim to increase female participation in government, both in elected office and on state boards and commissions; ensure individuals have access to affordable transportation to workforce training and educational programs; support military spouses with occupational licenses in job transitioning when they move into the state; prevent employers from discriminating against job applicants based on their age; and remove any unnecessary barriers for licensed group and family childcare facilities.

“We know that this COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare inequities in every aspect of our society — access to education, access to learn and develop a new skill-set and access to new opportunities. We must do everything we can to ensure that our young girls, women and families have access to the resources needed to unlock their full potential,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz. “I am so proud of this legislative agenda and thank our council members and steering committees for identifying proposals that will uplift women and families across our state.”

The Women and Girls in the Arts Virtual Gallery is currently supported by the Paier College of Art, Inc., state Department of Economic and Community Development, state Department of Education, state Department of Motor Vehicles, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Women and Girls in the Arts Virtual Gallery:

Facebook: @WomenandGirlsintheArts
Twitter: @WomenGirlsArts
Instagram: @womenandgirlsinthearts
Twitter: Twitter
Facebook: Facebook

Samantha Norton

Director of Communications