About the Exhibition

July 9–September 6, 2020

MOWA | West Bend

This exhibition presents work from the 2018 class of inductees to the Sisters of Creativity. The art collective takes its cue from the legacy of Mrs. Dorothy Nelle Sanders (1917–2013), who founded the African-American Arts Alliance and advocated for diversity in the arts in Milwaukee.

The six featured artists—all Milwaukeeans—are Blanche Brown, Chrystal Denise Gillon, Rhonda Gatlin Hayes, Ruthie Joy, Tia Richardson, and 2019 City of Milwaukee Artist of the Year Rosemary Ollison.

The Sisters of Creativity seek to recognize African-American women who have long been marginalized from the mainstream art world. While their formal training and choice of media vary, these six artists are united in purpose: championing social justice and civil rights, giving voice to the voiceless, expressing spirituality, and coping with trauma. Their work reflects not just their personal beliefs, but also their care and compassion toward the wider community.

Gillon and Richardson graduated respectively from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design (MIAD) and Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC); Brown, Hayes, Joy, and Ollison are self-taught. Despite their different backgrounds and choices of preferred media—for example, Richardson is a muralist and Ollison works predominantly with textiles— their voices unite in raising greater awareness of social inequalities and the need to be proactive in creating a better world for future generations.