Birmingham Society of Women Painters presents ‘As We See It’ at BBAC

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published September 6, 2023


BIRMINGHAM — Until Sept. 28, the juried works of the Birmingham Society of Women Painters will be on display at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center.

The group was founded in 1944 to provide women with formal instruction and a space to paint. This exclusive club now consists of about 62 women whose work varies in media.

In order to be accepted into the Birmingham Society of Women Painters, artists go through a thorough selection process, which involves nomination and portfolio review. In order to be considered, prospective members must receive a personal invitation from an existing member.

The society was instrumental in the establishment of the BBAC. With the support of businesses and community leaders, the Birmingham Art Association was founded in 1957. A few years later, the coalition formed a proposal to create a community arts center, the BBAC. Birmingham Society of Women Painters members continue to have a presence at the BBAC, and the organization has done about 76 shows at the art center.

“It is an honor to showcase the talented Birmingham Society of Women Painters in one of our galleries,” BBAC President and CEO Annie VanGelderen said. “Their collected work demonstrates the breadth of mediums and powerful observations that each artist possesses.”

About 45 pieces are featured in the exhibition, titled “As We See It.” While some years have a theme, this year does not. The title was meant to generally encapsulate the idea that everyone has a unique interpretation of what their artwork means.

The juror for the “As We See It” exhibition was Detroit artist Carole Morisseau.

“We thought that she would be a good juror because there’s people that are abstract painters, and then there’s very realistic painters and anything in between,” Birmingham Society of Women Painters artist and Dues Secretary Laura Whitesides Host said. “This juror really appreciated all of that. She tried to choose work that kind of represented the whole group.”

Whitesides Host, who helped put on the show this year, had one piece selected to be in the show: “Cellular Stripes,” a monoprint that she thought of at the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic when everyone was talking about cells.

“It was kind of making it a little more joyous that some cells are not COVID cells. Some are healthy cells,” Whitesides Host said.

Other represented mediums in the show include oil painting on canvas, acrylic painting on canvas, oil painting on paper, acrylic painting on paper, watercolors, and printmaking.

“This truly is a celebration of art from our founding members of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center,” VanGelderen said.

Learn more about the BBAC’s current exhibitions and hours at

The Birmingham Society of Women Painters is also showing at the Janice Charach Gallery at the Jewish Community Center, 6600 W. Maple Road in West Bloomfield,  in a show titled  “Her Story” with another group of women. That show will run until Sept. 13.