FemArt Gallery, Inc. is committed to support and promote women artists with exhibition opportunities, educational programs and community awareness. We have had over 75 women join FemArt since our beginning in 2017 but have seen many women withdraw and not participate in our exhibit opportunities and educational programs. We have reached out to these amazing artists and asked to understand why they were not participating. One artist in particular dropped from a show and when she was asked why she no longer wanted to show her great photography work she replied with a "heart" felt explanation. We supported her in the show and when she moved forward with her submission she found out at a the reception that she had won first place in our juried show. She received a monetary prize that helped her with her personal struggle at the time. Please read her story and understand that many women with great potential and promising art futures often withdraw for very important reasons and we as a society miss the opportunity to see their great art but have the power to help them so that they can be a part of cultivating a better society -
"At the age of 40 a very good friend gave me a Pentax K-2000. That gift changed my life and changed the way I looked at the world around me. I fell in love with photography and wanted to learn everything about photography. Before I graduated from Heritage Institute I enrolled at the Art Institute of Jacksonville. Just before I graduated, my husband Charles, was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure at the age of 41. The next following year in May of 2015, he had a double bypass and heart valve replacement. His arteries had 80 to over 90 percent blockage. I had to leave school in order to care for him. During this time I literally put my camera down, for a couple of months. He felt bad that I had to put my dreams on hold for him but, I told him that if never taking one photo meant that you would be with me forever, I would never pick up another camera as long as I live. I meant every word of that. He knew how much I love photography and didn’t want to be a burden or stop me from pursuing what I love to do. In between many of my husband’s doctors appointments, ER visits and hospital stays I battled with depression and anxiety. Worrying about his health, finances, having to quit school and feeling like I will never be able to fully devote and dedicate all of my attention to photography took a great toll on me metally. Many times I felt like giving up. Battling mental issues was only part of it. The cost of being a photographer is expensive. Not having professional level equipment and preparing for shows or exhibits can be difficult if you don’t have money to print, matte and frame your images properly. I had no choice but to let photography go and get a job to take care of my family. That was my breaking point. I left my job because I had a nervous breakdown while at work. Charles wasn’t well and lost a significant amount of weight. He went from 170lbs to 140. His heart was extremely weak and onApril 9th, 2019 he passed out at home. Charles was admitted to Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, FL and nine days later, he received a new heart that was miraculously delivered by his nephew, who is an EMT. I’ve often asked myself why do I keep pushing. There has been (and still are) so many obstacles but I kept pushing and pursuing. What keeps me going is the support of my family, many friends and fellow artist who continue to encourage me. What also keeps me going are the ugly and beautiful things...light and shadows. Capturing images that make of pause for a moment, or capturing a moment that can tell a story, evoking emotion or a feeling. This is why despite any obstacle that has been in my way, I continue to do what I love."
Cheryl McCainObscura Lux Fine Art Photography
Your Donation can help build funding for women who are struggling with financial, health and family situations that can prevent a woman from pursuing her art career. Please help to fund an art exhibit registration fee or provide for art supplies and a future brick and mortar that will provide a daycare, art therapy and a home for exhibits for all women artists. You can be a part of cultivating a better society with your donation. Thank you!