Woman Made Gallery is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization founded in 1992. Its goal is to support women in the arts by providing opportunities, awareness and advocacy. It specifically accomplishes this through exhibitions which raise public awareness and recognition of women's cultural contributions.
Sounds very support worthy. However, a bit further down the page, I came across this:
In addition to thematic group shows, WMG schedules solo shows where professional women artists have the opportunity to exhibit a more comprehensive body of work than is possible in the group shows. These solo shows give gallery visitors a chance to experience both a more in-depth look into the work of an individual artist.
Solo show artists are selected by invitation only. WMG does not accept unsolicited proposals but selects solo show artists from a large pool of individuals whose work is already well known to the Gallery Staff. Usually, the artist is a current member of the gallery, has been previously accepted into WMG group exhibitions, has been involved in other gallery functions such as jurying a show or volunteering, and/or is part of the online registry. The criteria for inclusion are a consistent body of quality work, a strong content, feminist orientation, how the work in the solo show complements the group show planned for the same time period, professional activities as an artist and professional attitude.
The current fee for a four-week exhibition is $500, which includes placing up to 15 images on our website. Solo Show artists are responsible for printing their own invitations and sending invitations to their personal mailing list. WMG includes Solo Show artists in emailed newsletters, on our website, in press releases and on our juried group-show invitations..
Ok, now where to start? I looked at their current call for art (http://womanmade.org/pdfs/text2014.pdf) which comes with the price tag of a $30 submission fee. In case one gets accepted, there is another $10 administrative fee for shipped work. WMG also doesn't pay for insurance while the work is exhibited. But let's say you feel this expense is all worth it, because, after all, that's what it takes to be eventually considered for one of their solo shows until....until you realize, there are more expenses. You get to spend $500 to exhibit and print your own invitations. Yippieehhh. Now how is this so different from vanity galleries? Because some form of selection took place?
Yes, I am upset. I am upset because I think if you truly want to support women, make means available to do so. Do not set up a system where women, yet again, have to pay under the disguise of a non-profit in order to maybe get the chance to exhibit.