Thawing the Chilly Climate: Two Decades of Women Artists at Douglass College

Ferris Olin
2012 The Journal of the Rutgers University Library  
This is an appropriate time to reflect on the importance of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series for Douglass College and the university community. The 20th anniversary of the Women Artists Series coincides with two other celebrations on campus during the coming academic year-Douglass College will mark the 75th anniversary of its founding and Rutgers College will host a series of events in honor of its 20th year of coeducation. It is also a particularly relevant time for me to reflect on my
more » ... to reflect on my experiences at the University-as a graduate of Douglass and the Rutgers Graduate School; and since 1976, as a member of the Rutgers faculty-especially as they mirror the rationale, development, and success of the Mary H. Dana Women Artists Series. These personal reminiscences acknowledge the political atmosphere on campus and attest to what Bernice Sandler, former Executive Director of The Project on the Status and Education of Women of the Association of American Colleges, has named "the chilly climate" on campus for women. I felt it, as well, as especially chilly for women in the visual arts. In the late 1960s, the mood at Douglass College was fairly typical of that found on any U.S. college campus. Students and faculty were caught up in the debate over our governments involvement in Vietnam, civil rights issues, and the second feminist wave. I remember quite vividly students capturing Old Queens, shutting down the University and eventually causing final exams to be disrupted. I remember going to a classroom, only to move to a new location because of the latest bomb threat to the building. (These reached epidemic proportions around the time of hourlies.) But most of all, I remember the debates at Douglass about co-education in response to the 1969 Rutgers College decision to admit women.
doi:10.14713/jrul.v54i1.1714 fatcat:h6pv2nmdh5di7hsgvaydawvv54