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Woman's Building records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions on Access
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Conditions on Use and Reproduction
  • Preferred Citation
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Note
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Title: Woman's Building records
    Identifier/Call Number: LSC.1982
    Physical Description: 3 Linear Feet (5 boxes and 1 oversized flat box)
    Date (inclusive): 1975-1994
    Abstract: The Woman's Building was a feminist community space that served as an educational facility and central icon in the feminist art and larger political movements. During its eighteen year lifespan, it housed conferences, performances, exhibitions and community events in downtown Los Angeles. This collection contains materials produced at the Woman's Building, exhibition catalogs, newsletters and calendars as well as information about different internal and external affiliated groups.
    Physical Location: COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language of Material: Materials are in English.

    Conditions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Audiovisual materials in this collection will require assessment and possible digitization for safe access. To review these audiovisual materials, you must notify the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk in advance of your visit.

    Conditions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Woman's Building records (Collection 1982). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    Provenance unknown. This collection is part of an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, the UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW), and the UCLA Library.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Stacy Wood, 2012. Description enhanced and further physical processing completed by Sabrina Ponce in 2016. Finding aid updated by Kelly Besser, 2021.
    The June L. Mazer Lesbian Archive at UCLA is an outreach and collection-building partnership between the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives, UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW), and the UCLA Library. These collections expand the pool of primary source materials available to researchers and to the community at large. This partnership was initiated by CSW and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to inventory, organize, preserve, and digitize more than eighty Mazer collections pertaining to lesbian and feminist activism and writings.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 7106064 


    The Woman's Building was a non-profit arts and education center located in Los Angeles, California. It focused on feminist art and served as a venue for the women's movement. The Woman's Building began as the Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW), founded in 1973 by art critic and historian Arlene Raven, designer Sheila Levant de Bretteville, and artist Judy Chicago. This was one of the first schools for women artists. At the core of the FSW's mission was the centrality of art practice to the larger women's movement. A rented space in downtown Los Angeles became the home of the FSW and was eventually named the Woman's Building (the name was taken from the structure created for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893). The Woman's Building was a shared space for the FSW along with Womanspace Gallery, the Women's Liberation Union, and the National Organization of Women.
    In 1975 the FSW moved to a new space and by 1977 most of the other organizations had left the Woman's Building. The FSW then voted to hire administrative staff and implement a board structure in order to solidify responsibility for the building and all other legal and financial concerns. The funding for the building would then come from membership, fundraising, grant money, tuition from workshops and courses, and the board members themselves.
    The FSW officially closed in 1981 but the Woman's Building continued to provide educational resources. The main focus of the Woman's Building transitioned to solely artistic programming including visual art, performance art, readings, and video art. In 1981, the Women's Graphic Center (WGC) Typesetting and Design was created as the profit making arm of the Woman's Building. WGC provided typesetting, printing, design, and production services; the profits supported the other activities of the Woman's Building. That year, the Woman's Building also began renting artist studio space in order to generate additional revenue. WGC closed in 1988. The Woman's Building closed later in 1991.


    Missing Title

    1970 Feminist Art Program founded by Judy Chicago at Fresno State College
    1970 Founding of Los Angeles Council of Women Artists
    1971 Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro found Feminist Art Program at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
    1971 Womanhouse, a collaborative installation, is created by students in the CalArts Feminist Art Program
    1972 Womanhouse exhibited to the public
    1973 Womanspace Gallery opens. Major exhibits included "Mothers and Daughters," "Taboo," and "Exposure." Educational programs included "Lesbian Consciousness in Art with Ruth Iskin and Arlene Raven," "Art Heritage Lecture: Georgia O'Keefe and Female Sexuality," and "Pioneer Women: Nancy Reeves, lawyer, feminist scholar, educator."
    1973 Feminist Studio Workshop (FSW) founded by Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville and Arlene Raven
    1973 The Woman's Building opens is doors at 743 S. Grandview. Key staff upon opening include FSW Faculty: Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Edie Folbe, Ruth Iskin, Suzanne Lacy, Deena Metzger, Arlene Raven, Helen Alm Roth; Board of Directors: Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Arlene Raven.
    1974 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "The Indian Show," "Beth Avary," "Temporary Environment and Performances," "Mary Maughelli," "Susan Hermann."
    1975 Grand opening of 1727 North Spring Street location
    1975 Key conferences at The Woman's Building: "Women in Design: The Next Decade," "Personal and Public Ritual: Women in Performance Art," "The Feminist Eye: Women Filmmakers and video Creators."
    1975 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Self-Portrait Show," "Metamorphosis (with Judy Chicago and the catalog by Arlene Raven," "Photos by Wendy Davis," "Eileen Gray Retrospective," "Marsha Bailey," "Imogene Cunningham."
    1975 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Isadora Duncan: A Unique Recital," "Miss Alice Stone Ladies society Orchestra."
    1976 L.A. Women's Video Center founded.
    1976 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Grandma Prisbrey: Installation," "Forms of Aspiration: New Drawings with Faith Wilding."
    1976 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Feminist Art Workers performance group founded by Nancy Angelo, Candace Compton, Cheri Gaulke, Vanalyne Green, and Laurel Klick," "Flying Klock and Clauson concert," "Ulrike Rosenbach performance, slide show, video screening, and discussion."
    1976 Key educational programs at The Woman's Building: "Feminist STudio Workshop," "Feminist Education: Methods and Techniques, Summer Workshop for Educators, taught by Judy Chicago, Sheila Levrant de Bretteville, Euth Iskin, Arlene Raven."
    1977 Lesbian Art Project (LAP) founded by the Natalie Barney Collective: Arlene Raven, Terry Wolverton, Nancy Fried, Kathleen Berg.
    1977 Ariadne: A Social Art Network founded by Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz
    1977 Chrysalis : A Magazine of Women's culture begins publication
    1977 Women in the Printing Arts catalog published by The Woman's Building.
    1977 Conferences: "Women's Caucus for Art National Conference," "Building: How and Why."
    1977 Key exhibits: "Rita Yokoi, Rachel Youdelman," "Women in the Printing Arts," "Judith Golden," "Social Commentary with Rabyn Blake, Jill Climent, Phyllis Davidson, Ilene Segalove, Barbara Thomason."
    1977 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Virginia Woolf : An Uncommon Evening by Sara DeWitt," "The Rise of the Fates written an directed by Z. Budapest."
    1978 Spinning Off begins publication.
    1978 The Video Project launches to create fifteen public service announcements about issues vital to Los Angeles women.
    1978 The Woman's Building celebrates fifth anniversary, raising Kate Millett's Naked Lady sculpture to the roof of the building.
    1978 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Tapestries by Chilean artists," "Inside the Dream: Aline LaPierre," "Women in Art Meets Life in Las Vegas," "A Woman's Image of Mass Media," "Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective."
    1978 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Mischief Mime Troupe," "Barbara Hammer," "FEMINA: An IntraSpace Voyage, collaborative performance conceived by Terry Wolverton," "Women Bound and Unbound, multimedia performance by Alida Walsh."
    1979 Incest Awareness Project, a collaboration between Ariadne: A Social art Network and the Women's Resource Program of the Los Angeles Gay and LEsbian Community Services Center, begins.
    1979 Judy Chicago's collaborative project, The Dinner Party, opens at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
    1979 Conferences at The Woman's Building: "Women and Science Fiction: Feminist Future Visions Conference, Kate Wilhelm, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Suzy McKee Charnas, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro," "Women Being Successful at Being Women in Their Workplace: Arlene Raven, Sheila de Bretteville, Sheila Bob, Jane Rosenzweig."
    1979 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Sorcerer's Dialectic," "Bedtime Stories: Women Spak Out About Incest," "Documentary Photographs of The Dinner Party," "Wiccan Voices: Paula Lumbard," "Waiting at Columbia, Susan Mogul."
    1979 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "An Oral Herstory of Lesbianism, collaborative performance by Terry Wolverton," "In Silence Secrets Turn to Lies, performance by Terry Wolverton for Bedtime Stories."
    1980 The Great American Lesbian Art Show (GALAS), a collaboration between The Woman's Building and the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, opens in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S.
    1980 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "The Artist as Magus: Leonora Carrington, Fay Jones, Cheryl Swannack, Tyaga, Faith Wilding," Kay Whitney, Lynn Higbee," "LA/9: Diane Destiny, Jean Edelstein, Shirley Kalish, Fran Raboff, Ruth Snyder, Carol TOlin, Harriet Zetilin, Renata Zerner."
    1980 Key performances at The Woman's Building: An Intimate Dinner for 150, collaborative performance by Terry Wolverton, Bia Lowe, The Waitresses, Cisuf, Nancy Fried, Silvia and Anne Mavor at Jett's Cafe and Art Haus," "Beautiful Senoritas, musical play by Dolores Prida at Inner City Cultural Center," "What Do You Think ABout Knives, collaborative performance by Betsy Damon," "City of Angels Perofmrance Project, Cheri Gaulke."
    1981 Feminist Studio Workshop closes
    1981 Spinning Off ceases publication.
    1981 WGC Typesetting and Design opens as a profit-making arm of The Woman's Building.
    1981 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Found Images with Cooper Neville and Alexi Mornell," "Miniature Tableaux with Barbara Margolies," "Living Here installation with Suzanne Lacy."
    1981 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "A month of Women's Perofmrance Art co-sponsored by Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art with Rachel Rosenthal, Disband, Nancy Angelo and Cheri Gaulke, Martha Wilson, Vanalyne Green, The Waitresses, Helen Harrison, Kathy Arnold, Marcella Bienvenue," "Julie James, Jean Goodlow in concert."
    1982 Vesta Awards honoring women's contributon to the arts are founded by The Woman's Building public relations committee.
    1982 The Woman's Building adopts Affirmantive Action policy for Board, staff and exhibiting artists.
    1982 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Women Writing Poetry in America, broadsides by women printers," "Madre Tierra," "A Broadside is not a Sideshow Attraction."
    1983 The Woman's Building celebrates 10th anniversary and publishes The First Decade.
    1983 Women's Graphic Center commission Project, "Private Conversations, Public Announcements," posters exhibited at Los Angeles City Hall.
    1983 Arlene Raven curates "At Home" at the Long Beach Museum of Art.
    1983 Cheri Gaulke curates performance art series," At Home at the Woman's Building."
    1983 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "A Book Show, A Drawing Show with Jill Littlewood," "Life in Los Angeles, broadsides designed by Sheila de Bretteville and printed by Susan E. King," "Art and Life, work from the Postcard Project," "Private Conversations, PUblic Announcements."
    1983 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Sisters of Survival," "At Home at the Woman's Building curated by Cheri Gaulke and Rachel Rosenthal," "Anna Homier, Terry Wolverton, Laurel Klick, Kathy Arnold, the Love Machien and Aviva Rahmani."
    1984 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "1984: Big Brother is Watching," "Public Exposures/Private Disclosures: Rebecca Hendrick," "Scavenger Xerox: A Radical Debut: Robin Price," "Paintings by Lois Swirnoff."
    1984 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Funk Lessons by Adrian Piper," "Tall Wheat by Susan Banyas," "Voices, by Marion Hassinger, Running Dog/Paper Tiger by May Sun," "Danceworks, by Gilberte Meunier."
    1984 Eileen Myles and Anmy Gerstler read poetry.
    1985 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: The Whale Concerts by Liee Gray," "Artist as Shaman, Patricia Bulitt," "Priveleged Information, Barbara Kruger," "The Current Wave, Louise Kollenbayum,' "The Spirit of Black Women: Beverly Robinson, Iris Ambrose, Delores Nehemiah," "The At of the Altar: Resources for Understanding Women's Tradition with Kay Turner."
    1986 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: Cross Pollination," "Textiles as Text: Hmong Exhibit," "Elizabeth Catlett and Nike Olanigi," "Family Album."
    1986 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Family Album: Evening of Poetry and Performance," "Performance Mania."
    1987 Betty Ann Brown hosts an "Art Tour of Santa Fe" for donors of The Woman's Building.
    1987 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Maureen Murdock: Photo Exhibition in Service of the Goddess," "Women and Their work at Los Angeles City Hall," "Reflections on Survival: Rose Marie Prins, Nancy Baytos-Fenton, Alice Dubiel, Betsy Richardson, Nancy Buchanan," "Apsara: the Feminine in Cambodian Art," "Earth Vision/Human Scale curated by Dinah Berland."
    1987 Key performances at The Woman's Building: "Comedy Night, Leslie Belt, Pat Akers, The Love Machine," "Natural History according to Liebe Gray."
    1988 WGC Typesetting and Design closes.
    1988 The Woman's Building celebrates 15th anniversary, publishes Fifteen Years and Growing and produces Sweet 15 video; Eighteen artists create original art "birthday cakes" to be exhibited and auctioned at The Woman's Building.
    1988 Woman's Building organizes conference, " The Way We Look, The Way We See: Art Criticism for Women in the 90s," co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women at UCLA, Astro Artz/High Performance and the Wigh Art Gallery.
    1988 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Postcard Extravaganza," "Holiday Tea, curated by Betty Asher," "The Sapelo Island Series, Aminah Robinson," "Ways with Wood with Barbara Berk, Angie Bray, Pat Warner," "Image and TExt with Nancy Barton, Laurel Beckman, Kaucyila Brooke, Connie Hatch, Debora Small, Erika Suderburg, May Sun,video by Jerri allyn, Cecilia Condit, Barbara Hammer, Christine Tamblyn."
    1988 Key literary events at The Woman's Building: woman's Building publishes literary anthology, Women for All Seasons edited by Wanda Coleman and Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, Eros, Surrealism, Survival Readings by Michelle T. Clinton.
    1989 Mary Jane Jacob hosts an "Art Tour of Chicago" for Woman's Building donors.
    1989 Conferences at The Woman's Building: "Three Gnereations of Black Women Writers, Paule Marshall, Sonia Sanches, J. California Cooper, Michelle Clinton, Wanda Coleman, Sherley Anne Williams," "In Whose Voice, In Whose Vision: Culture and Representation," "Art and the Power to Define: Categorization, Representation and Appropriation."
    1989 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "Sounding Patterns: Suvan Geer, Mineko Grimmer and Nobuho Nagasawa," "Reading the Personal: Womens Studio Workshop of NY," Bonnie Thompson Norman," "Deborah Lawrence."
    1990 Key exhibitions at The Woman's Building: "The Power of Past Centures: Kerr and Malley," "Incantations: Portland McCormick," "Metaphysical Landscapes, Hilary Baker."
    1991 The Woman's Building closes.

    Scope and Content

    This varied collection shows the myriad functions of the Woman's Building and its central place in the feminist movement as a hub of the creation and display of feminist art. It was also a community educational facility throughout its eighteen year history.
    The Woman's Building collective produced and distributed newsletters to their supporters and members on a monthly basis that included announcements, developments, solicitations for donations, and event calendars. In the collection are newsletters spanning from 1984-1990, giving a glimpse into the operations and public activities of the Woman's Building during that time.
    The Women's Graphic Center was founded as a profit-making arm of the Woman's Building in 1981. Included in this collection are newsletters documenting the activities, publications and outreach efforts of the Women's Graphic Center from 1984-1990. In addition, there are several publications from the Women's Graphic Center including products of a letterpress workshop as well as one of their artist publications.
    Produced in the Women's Graphic Center but not as a part of the for-profit operation was the collaborative Postcard Project led by artist in residence Cheri Gaulke. The project lasted from 1985-1988 and generated hundreds of limited edition postcards, many of which are included here.
    Also included are descriptive press materials from the LA Women's Video Center (LAWVC) that was founded in 1976 and provided classes, equipment and support to women interested in using video to produce documentation, public service announcements, center productions, and art tapes.
    The Women's Press Collective was founded in 1969 by artists Wendy Cadden and Judy Grahan. Dedicated to publishing the "work of women that we thought no one else would do," the selections in this collection display particular activist works surrounding individual women including Joan Little and Inez Garcia.
    A large element of the collection are the exhibition catalogs with many containing essays or other writings by Arlene Raven. The collection also includes press releases from the Woman's Building about performances, community events, lectures and workshops as well as articles and clippings from outside news sources concerning activities at the Woman's Building.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Materials arranged according to original order. This collection does not contain a Box 5.

    Related Material

    Otis College of Art and Design holds both the slide and ephemera archives for The Woman's Building. The Getty Research Institute Library houses The Woman's Building Video Archive.
    Institutional records can be found in The Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. These records cover the period before The Woman's Building was founded through its closing.
    Over 250 video tapes of feminist performances, video art, documentation of the feminist movement, interviews, and readings are contained in The Long Beach Museum of Art Video Archive, located at the Getty Research Institute Special Collections.
    Various materials related to individual performances or event documentation can be found in: Wolverton (Terry) Papers 1970-2005 in UCLA Special Collections, Sarah Stifler Papers at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Whitlock (Mary) Photographs 1974-2008 at the ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives, Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) 1964-1994 in UCLA Special Collections, Yamada (Mitsuye)Papers 1940-2005 in UC Irvine Special Collections, Getty Research Institute public event recordings 2001-2011 in the Getty Research Institute Institutional Archives, Guide to the Centro Cultural de La Raza Archives 1970-1999 in University of Santa Barbara Special Collections, Craft and Folk Art Museum Records circa 1965-1997, and Geological Survey of California Papers 1844-1873 in the University of California Berkeley Bancroft Library.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Woman's Building (Los Angeles, Calif.)