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WAM and Women

Clara and the women artists of her time needed WAM: Women’s Art Museum Society of Canada. This virtual museum, in Edmonton, Alberta is dedicated to the exhibition and promotion of women’s art. It was incorporated in October 2006 and is gaining international recognition. Their website describes this mission in detail: Clara and her colleagues’ work was regarded as amateur and a good hobby for ladies. The art had no respectable place to go. Clara’s grandniece describes her great aunt’s house in the 1950’s:

“I remember being in Clara’s house and seeing paintings everywhere, even in the closets.”

Clara's sketch of A Couple at the Beach

Today WAM provides virtual exhibit space where female artists can show their art and viewers can critique and appreciate it. There was no financial outlet for the women artists of Clara’s time. She and her husband, Fred, were artists but his work as a commercial artist supported them financially. This is described in Fred’s diary:

Dec. 20, 1937Clara spoke of how she is helping on the income

Jan 26, 1938– downtown, I called on a number of prospects, Clara called on Rowe & Mann & Coutts.

Today WAM provides a forum where female artists become known; develop a following showing and discussing their work; ultimately creating an income stream.

Clara and her contemporaries operated in a world where women’s artistic work was dwarfed by the perception that men’s work was of more value. Fred describes this traditional way of thinking in his diary and the showing of his work:

Feb. 24, 1938Put in exhibition at Runneymede Library” and that of Clara’s:

April 4, 1938Dr & Mrs Mavety here for visit and look at her work. (This refers to Clara showing her work at home).

Today WAM provides a virtual space dedicated solely to the unique creations and contributions women artists bring to the table. But WAM is not stopping here. An actual museum where women’s art will be seen in “real time” is the ultimate goal. And it will happen! And on this site as the information and collection of Clara’s work continues to grow she will have “her place in the sun”.


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