Islip Art Museum’s new exhibit is all about women’s suffrage


The Islip Art Museum is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment with its newest exhibit.

The museum partnered with Bayport-based Women Sharing Art, Inc. to bring in 27 local female artists to create artwork that pays homage to the women’s suffrage movement.

Together, their artwork is displayed at 50 Irish Lane in East Islip in an exhibit called “I Am! At IAM.”

“Part of the mission of the museum is to honor local artists, along with emerging and national artists who have some impact or reach,” said Christine O’Malley, curator and president of the Islip Arts board of directors. “This exhibit is a collective collection of very talented artists resolving a singular theme, individually.”

The idea had been discussed for a while, she said. When O’Malley met with the president of Women Sharing Art, Sue Miller, back in June, they knew right away that they wanted to celebrate the fact that women have been able to vote in the United States for 100 years.

And it was fitting on so many levels. “This is the year of the empowerment of women,” Miller said. “Women Sharing Art’s motto is to share energy and explore artistic passions.”

O’Malley said that the collaboration is ideal considering the theme of the project. “It parallels the narrative of the suffragettes — it was a collective of women who got this going,” she said. “And this exhibit is a collective of local artists who want to tell their story.”

Inside the exhibit, there are three galleries each with a different story told through the art. One features individual women, another interprets the 19th Amendment, while the third continues that concept through a more collaborative installation.

Created by an all-women group, nearly 60 pieces adorn the walls. “It was empowering for the artists, as well as being an empowering story, to talk about women’s suffrage 100 years later,” O’Malley said.

The 27 women artists range in age, with some members starting in their mid-30s to their oldest member painting at 87 years old.

Some pieces are portraits taken with a camera and some are paintings or sketches.  Sculptures with intricate details stand in the corner of the room and a mosaic piece lies across a table.

“Everyone’s interpretation becomes so different,” O’Malley said. “To get empowered and see the creative spirit of our local collective artists, who have told a very personal story as a group, is so hard to do.”

Along with the I Am exhibit at the IAM, the artists of Women Sharing Art also worked on self-portraits that are on display at their satellite show “I Am East” at the BAFFA Gallery in Sayville.

An opening reception at the Islip Art Museum will be held on March 7. The exhibit will run through March 28.

Scroll down for some pictures of what you’ll see at the exhibit.

Above photo of Sue Miller and Christine O’Malley at the Islip Art Museum. All photos by Julianne Mosher.