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Robin Knowlton: Focus on Women in Art

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Although Robin Knowlton may be best known in the Lodi area for the exclusive collection of classic art she displayed when she owned and operated the Knowlton Gallery, she is now being recognized for her work with American Women Artists. AWA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the inspiration, celebration and encouragement of women in the visual fine arts.

Robin never imagined that less than a year into her term as a board member of AWA, she would become the organization’s executive director. The board president at that time said they would really like to have her on the board but she was too swamped at the gallery, working seven days a week. “The very day I closed the gallery, she came knocking at the door and said, ‘We’ve been waiting for you and want you to join us because we need someone with gallery experience,’” Robin recalled.

“It was the right time for me, since I wasn’t ready to retire and it was great because it uses virtually all the skills that I had developed over my life.” Robin feels her career in marketing before she owned the gallery, combined with her wide network of artists as well as her contacts with the national art magazines from her gallery days, gave her the edge she needed for the job. “I had all the computer skills and knowledge, so everything just came together.”

When Robin came on board in 2015, the AWA changed its mission, heading up a national initiative to get more women into museum exhibitions and museum collections. That initiative, 25 in 25, is a drive by American Women Artists to have 25 museum exhibitions for its members, over the next 25 years, in order to address the dismal statistics that less than 5 percent of works in museum collections are by women artists. A show at the Haggin Museum in August 2018 will be AWA’s third museum exhibition in its 25 in 25 campaign.

“I am excited,” revealed Robin, “that AWA’s show will be at the Haggin Museum this year, a museum I love and am proud to show off to our artists who will be coming to the show from across the United States and Canada. The show features paintings and sculpture inspired by 13 iconic works from the Haggin.”

It is obvious that Robin is passionate about promoting the work of professional women artists and getting people to focus on collecting their works. “I’ve spent the past two years purchasing works by women artists after I realized how unbalanced my own collection was. When you start focusing on works by women, it becomes a fun quest!”

Founded in 1990, American Women Artists has over 700 artist members. They have museum shows booked through 2022 and feel that their message about gender disparity is creating greater opportunities for women artists. With an AWA membership, artists have the opportunity to jury into museum exhibitions every year for the next 25 years. Support is coming from AWA Patron Memberships from artists and non-artists alike who want to see works by women artists as part of museum shows and collections across America.