Where art thou? An examination of women’s experience pursuing a higher education degree in studio art

The purpose of this work surveyed and interviewed women who completed a degree in studio art or other art related concentrations. This study focused on the educational experiences of females in their studio art courses. The researcher evaluated and analyzed data to identify similar experiences shared by women. This study focused on the following questions: What influences and informs female student’s art making practice? How can the curriculum in studio art education help (or hinder) female artist’s transition into the art market? Sources of Data Females of various ages, that have completed a degree within any concentration of studio art, art history or art education were surveyed and interviewed. There were 43 participants that took the survey. The survey was sent out through Facebook as an open call and through email to a network of professional contacts within the art community including museum staff, educators, gallery owners and artists. The artists selected to interview were volunteers from professional colleagues known through the local art community. The survey was designed to be primarily quantitative data to easily identify specific themes. The qualitative nature of the survey allowed for the researcher to conduct thematic analysis and make conclusions. In addition to the Likert scale questions, the survey allowed for other responses that produced rich data that the researcher developed and applied a coded scheme to produce qualitative data and draw conclusions. Conclusions Reached The quantitative and qualitative nature of the study allowed for the researcher to draw conclusions based on the data findings in relation to gender. The history and current research on the representation of women in the professional art field is deeply rooted in the hegemonic pedagogies of studio art curriculum. Women lack role models, mentorship and learning from and about other women artists. The study defines deficient areas within the studio art discipline that can and should be addressed.