Moore College of Art & Design is teaming up with The Legacy Center at Drexel University College of Medicine, the successor institution of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania to produce the film “Women Transforming Art & Medicine.”
Both schools, founded in Philadelphia in 1848 and 1850, respectively, were the first institutions of their kind for women in the United States. Moore continues to be the only women’s visual arts college in the country and Woman’s Medical was the longest-lasting all-women’s medical school, accepting its first male students in 1970.
The narrative documentary will be directed by five-time Emmy-winning filmmaker Connie Bottinelli. It will be accompanied by an online contemporary companion piece by award-winning artist Catherine Pancake, providing a rich, interactive reflection of the film.
An Important Historical Documentary
“Women Transforming Art & Medicine” will investigate a wealth of powerful women from these sister institutions, whose lives often intersect between art and medicine: an artist who uses her art training to give voice to the mentally ill; a surgeon who sculpted women physicians’ hands because she believed those hands should be artistically honored; the woman who founded Moore and ended up on a Civil War battlefield nursing soldiers; the first photojournalist for a major newspaper to win a Pulitzer Prize; the child who escapes from her country in a bloody revolution to become a world renowned fashion designer now living in New York City; the African-American doctor who picked cotton to pay for medical school and became the first black woman doctor in Georgia.
The intricacies, beauty and humanity of the body inspire art and the skills required to render art are also found necessary in medicine. The connection between these two disciplines is strong and regularly found in both fields.
It is clear that the histories of these two institutions both drove and are reflective of social, cultural and economic shifts. A film, following the trajectory of these two groundbreaking schools from the mid-19th century to the present, will capture the stories of the women involved.
Issues and Contributions by Women are Illuminated
By looking through the lens of these two institutions, the goal is to illuminate the history of women in the visual arts and medicine, the changes women in these fields have wrought in their professions and in American history and the goals not yet attained in the 21st century.
The women who attended Moore and Woman’s Medical were breaking new ground and faced multiple social issues in “getting ahead.” Today’s women artists and physicians encounter some of those same issues as well as others. A 2013 article on artnet news said that “No female artists have made it onto the list of the top 100 most expensive sold at auction.”That same year, Forbes, printed: “although they are gaining momentum in the art market, women have not caught up yet.” Recently, a post on mommd.com, reported: “We will have 50% of the physicians in this country being female in the next 20 years, but we will work harder and make much less money than when the majority of physicians were male.”
The film will fill a void by illuminating the lives of women in the visual arts and medicine. It will also provide an awareness of where and when the door opened, creating a ripple effect in America for women who have, are and will be educated in these fields.
“Women Transforming Art & Medicine” will serve to remind viewers that everyone contributes to the larger context of the world we shape.
Core Questions Throughout The Film
• As women entered these fields, what did they bring to that intersection?
• What impact did women’s growing roles in these professions have on their fields?
• What are the remaining obstacles for women in art and medicine?
Premiere of “Women Transforming Art & Medicine”
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. One of the goals of Vision 2020 – a national coalition founded and administered by the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine – is to achieve women’s economic and social equality by that centenary year. “Women Transforming Art & Medicine” will premiere at a film festival in conjunction with Vision 2020 and then be screened around the country at other festivals, educational institutions and art houses.
This is the first in a series of articles that will follow the progression of realizing this very important project.
Visit the Moore College of Art & Design website http://moore.edu/