In This Issue

Women Art Politics



2020 will be remembered as the strange year in which life messed with normality, big time. Originally we expected to publish one or two months ago. That was overt hubris. Yet, the extra time spent became an unexpected dividend.  ISSUE 11 grew and transformed into one of our best. The ideas and strategies, art and artists, unearthed in WOMEN ART POLITICS are relevant and timeless.  Please read, share, enjoy, and then, slow down to reread again.    

In 2020 ordinary and extraordinary humans alike became and remain drastically threatened by the Covid epidemic. Social Contract and fear are forcing us to stay home (those who have safe shelter), wear masks, limit human touch, and wash our hands over and over again. With too many lives lost, we need national leadership, and money to take care of all at risk.  We need change now.  Anxiety is high.  We are all waiting for answers.

Simultaneously, the Black Lives Matter movement ripped off the masks of systematic racism in our institutions and communities.  In 2020, anger and frustration erupted to shake the status quo.   Alarm, disgust, and fear brought thousands of demonstrators of every age and color to the streets to protest Black deaths at the hands of those hired to protect all.  Stagnation and avoidance are not acceptable strategies.  Change must come now within us and within our institutions.  WEAD pledges full support to Black Lives Matter.  We will continue to work diligently to improve upon our founding mission of inclusivity, transparency and non-racism. 


California artist Mildred Howard is Issue No. 11’s Feature Artist.  An internationally lauded artist with numerous public commissions, Howard’s work mines memories and political issues of African American culture, family and community. She is best known for audience-participatory bottle and blown glass houses that create a safe place to enter for reflection.  She asks viewers to question what we think we see or know.  We honor her for illuminating her world through art, and inviting us to join her, for more than 40 years. Created with deep personal strength, insight, and grace, her work remains fresh, vital, and relevant. 


SECOND CHANCES, Image from Claudia Bernardi’s article.

Rhodessa Jones:  “If You don’t See Color, You Don’t See me.”

Up close and personal, writer Denny Riley interviews Rhodessa Jones, award winning actor, teacher, director, writer, and Riley’s long-time friend.   Riley originally wrote this essay for the “Peace and Planet News”—the newspaper of New York City Veterans for Peace and the Vietnam Disclosure Project ( For 23 years the charismatic Jones has been co-artistic director of San Francisco’s Cultural Odyssey performance company where she is founding director of The Medea Project:  Theater for Incarcerated Women.  The Project is committed to the personal and social transformation of incarcerated women and women living with HIV.  “Born in 1948 to less than affluent surroundings,” her parents were migrant workers.  She discusses what progress she has witnessed in the Civil Rights Movement in her life journey.

Claudia Bernardi:  Second Chances—A Visual Investigation of the Journey of Undocumented Unaccompanied Minors from Crossing the US/Mexico Border to a Maximum Security Prison in the United States. Bernardi’s heartbreaking title coolly reveals pain and disbelief at unconscionable conditions. An Argentinian-American, she is an internationally known and respected artist active in the fields of human rights and social justice.  Since 2015 she has been facilitating community-based and collaborative mural projects with imprisoned Central American minors. She writes as witness to the cruelly contrived fate of youth caught in the crosshairs of US Border politics.  In the murals youth paint experienced graphic violence in bold primary colors. 

Beverly Naidus:  Extreme Makeover, Reimagining the World We Want, 2020, Tacoma WA.   Intelligent, innovative and fiercely driven, Naidus is an artist, project producer, teacher and author who has been a major player in the field of activist community based arts for 40+ years.   She is one of our “go to artists” when we want to know what’s going on at street level.  Here she reports on her current participatory project being installed in a storefront studio with University of Washington at Tacoma students in the midst of the Covid crisis.  It’s a primer on how to get relevant work done in public while wearing masks and safe distancing.

Lo Yi-Chun & Jane Ingram Allen:  Politics in Contemporary Taiwanese Art.   This collaborative survey was researched and written by Taiwanese activist artist Lo Yi-Chun and American artist, writer, project producer Jane Ingram Allen. Allen formerly lived and worked in Taiwan and has maintained close ties with its artists and culture.  The collaborators share connections with the artists surveyed, affording a more personal view of the complicated history and unique place of Taiwan in today’s world politics.

Loraine Leeson: Active Energy—Communities Countering Climate Change, London England.  Promoting citizen-led innovation, this project comes out of British artist Leeson’s “long-standing art practice rooted in the belief that keys to social change are held in the knowledge of ordinary citizens.”  A true pioneer of community-based visual art, Leeson has lived and worked through 30+ years of cultural activism in the “intense community life” of the East London waterfront.  This essay is a follow-up to one published in WEAD Magazine ISSUE No. 7, which described the inception of her collaboration with The Geezers, a self-named group of senior working class men.  Working with Leeson, the men became “consumed by the quest to find alternative energies for their community”. Leeson updates how she fostered the Geezers’ ideas, making progress possible through connections to resources, engineers and scientists, and supporting institutions.  This success story is sorely needed in these uncertain times.

Robin Rosenthal:  #COUNTMEIN—An Arts Based Initiative for the 2020 Census, Lancaster CA.  Sponsored by the Lancaster Museum of Art  (MOAH), and the California Art Council’s Artists in Communities program.  Familiar with Rosenthal’s years of place making art practice in the Antelope Valley (northeast of Los Angeles), MOAH Programs Coordinator Robert Benitez invited Rosenthal to work with him to design a community art project to increase Lancaster’s downtown residents’ participation in the Census.  He learned that residents in the neighborhood surrounding MOAH were among those contributing to a low response score.  He proposed to embed artists in the community to use art to promote participation. Barriers included local general suspicion of government, immigration status fears, lack of language support, insecure housing, and lack of digital access when the government required initial enumeration to be online.  Rosenthal became the leader of the three-person Artists in Residence team– herself, photojournalist Wyatt Coleman, and locally known artist/journalist Edwin Vasquez.  Rosenthal’s essay is an excellent step-by-step “how to” primer on developing place specific art projects that welcome diverse resident inclusion, and how to remain flexible when making public art.  The Covid epidemic forced them to throw out and reinvent much of the initial art programming.  The Census Count closes October 30, after which the team can ascertain the success of the project. The Magazine will report later on her conclusions, adding it to the essay


Emotional Numbness by Atefeh Khas and Minoosh Zomorrodinia

This is a groundbreaking exhibit and collaboration by artists in two often-conflicting countries–Iran and the U.S.  Both producer/curators were born in Iran, but Zomorrodinia has been making art in the U.S. and is a WEAD Board Director.  In Iran the art is exhibited on the walls of a Tehran gallery directed by Khas. In the U.S., due to Covid, images are online and sponsored by WEAD.  Response to the dual exhibits has been overwhelmingly positive.


Cultural Commentary Project. by Daniele Siembada    The artist invites you “ to take agency through a critical but underutilized public comment system.”  Participate!


The Portfolio is a mini on-line exhibit curated to spotlight WEAD members’ work on the Issue theme.  The Exhibition Committee chose these particular projects for creative excellence, uniqueness and diversity of approach.

The Portfolio is an asset of WEAD membership to give artists the opportunity to share recent work.  Join WEAD now! There’s an open call every issue, so send us a few high quality images with brief descriptions.



In partnership with  Extraction:  Art on the Edge of the Abyss “A multimedia, multi-venue cross-border art intervention to investigate the extraction industry in all its forms….” Produced by the CODEX Foundation, Project Director Peter Koch ( 

Nothing like EXTRACTION has been attempted before: All art forms, all happening at roughly the same time, with hundreds of artists spread across at least four continents (North and South America, Europe, and Australia). And all addressing a single theme—the suicidal consumption of the planet’s natural resources, which is the most pressing environmental issue of our time, encompassing all others, including climate change. 


All proposals welcome.  Please send only proposals to by February 15, 2021.  Specific criteria will be sent to accepted proposals in early March 2021.


WEAD needs funding and support to continue publishing the Magazine.  For example, in respect of the time and talent each writer gives us, we award each a modest honorarium.  Let us know if you would like to sponsor one or more writers, or an entire issue.  For information, email info[at]