Celebrating Colorado Women Artists
The Women’s Caucus for Art Colorado Chapter created this collection of murals to highlight the significant contributions of Colorado women artists.
The 4'.2" ft. by 5'.3" ft. portable canvas murals will be displayed at various locations to introduce Coloradoans and visitors to the art and impact of these artists: Elizabeth Spalding, Eppie Archuleta, Betty Woodman, Senga Nengudi, and Jean Smith.
If you are interested in displaying these murals, contact email@example.com.
Learn more about the Women’s Caucus for Art Colorado Chapter.
What my mural means to me
"I was so honored and humbled when I saw
the mural that the Women’s Caucus for Art, Colorado Chapter created featuring me.
I have enjoyed being a member of this group since a handful of us started it with the leadership of Catherine Carilli, who was a member of the Wisconsin Chapter when she was in college there. So many wonderful and interesting women have come through our membership and I remain friends with quite
a few of them through the years. I am tickled and delighted that the group honored all the hats I have worn being actively evolved with this group since 1990! Thank you to all past and current members; I have learned so much from all of you!"
Elisabeth Spalding (1868–1954)
Elisabeth Spalding was born in Erie, Pennsylvania. When she was six her family relocated to Denver, where she spent most of her life. She studied painting in New York, Pennsylvania, as well as Europe. She is known for her Colorado landscapes using both oil and watercolor in a post-impressionist style.
Spaulding was both an important Colorado artist and an initiator of the arts community of Denver. She was a founding member of the Artists Club of Denver which later became the Denver Art Museum. She was also one of the fifty-two founding members of the Denver Artists Guild, which included most of the city’s professional artists. In 1943, the City Club of Denver awarded Elisabeth Spalding its Medal for Distinctive Achievement in painting. She died in Denver on May 21, 1954.
Eppie Archuleta (1922-2014)
Eppie Archuleta was born in northern New Mexico. She was a master weaver who preserved historic ways of dying wool and weaving in the southwestern Hispanic tradition. Her style blended Spanish colonial and Chimayo Indian designs. She taught many in her family of ten children and others how to weave, keeping centuries-old weaving techniques alive. After World War II, Archuleta and her husband Frank moved from New Mexico to the San Luis Valley of Colorado where she purchased a wool mill in La Jara, Colorado. There, she opened the San Luis Valley Wool Mill which produced yarn she sold to weavers throughout the U.S., set up a weaving school, and created much-needed job opportunities in the Valley.
During her lifetime, Archuleta received many awards and honors. Some of her weavings are on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Archuleta was a recipient of a 1985 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1995, she received an Honorary Doctorate in Arts from Adams State University. She was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 1997.
Betty Woodman (1930–2018)
Betty Woodman synthesized sculpture, painting, and ceramics in a highly original way. Her work speaks to gender, modernism, craft, architecture, and domesticity. She began her career making functional pottery, but in the 1970s she completely abandoned her functional approach. Woodman’s art was inspired by diverse sources, ranging from Etruscan and Minoan to Tang and majolica Majolica ceramics. In the 1950s, Woodman convinced City of Boulder officials to fund the Boulder Pottery Lab, making it one of the first recreational pottery programs in the U.S., resulting in around 100 kilns being constructed in the Boulder area.
Woodman was the first living female artist to have a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York. Her work is in numerous permanent collections worldwide. She has won many awards, including the Colorado Governor's Award in the Arts and the Visionary Award of the American Craft Museum. She was a professor of art at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1978 to 1998 and divided her time between Colorado and Italy.
Senga Nengudi (1946–present)
Senga Nengudi was born Sue Irons in Chicago. She is an African-American visual artist best known for her abstract sculptures that combine found objects and choreographed performances. She was raised and educated in Los Angeles where she was influenced by the strong performance and installation scene on the west coast at the time. Senga’s work reflects this mix of genres and focuses on issues surrounding gender, Black women’s bodies, race, and ethnicity. Her performance-based sculptures and installation helped bring traditional African forms into mainstream contemporary art.
Nengudi now lives in Colorado. She is retired from teaching at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Along with making art, Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education and brings arts programs emphasizing diversity to her communities. Her work has been featured at major museums such as the Denver Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She received the 2010 Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award.
Senga Nengudi, whose five-decade-long career has mined everyday materials to explore concepts of ritual, femininity, Blackness and the fragility of the body, is the winner of the 2023 Nasher Prize. The international award, in its sixth year, includes a $100,000 cash prize, an exhibition and a series of public events in Dallas in March and April. It is less a lifetime achievement award, said Jeremy Strick, director of the Nasher Sculpture Center, than a recognition of an artist with a significant body of work “who is continuing to speak with great force to the contemporary moment.”
In a phone conversation, Nengudi, 78, said, “I think about so many artists who are now gone, and I’m just grateful that I’m here in body to receive all this.”
Jean Smith (1951-present)
Jean Smith is a ceramic artist who has been a full-time artist since 1986. Some of her ceramics are functional, though most of her work is sculptural or decorative. Using geometric shapes, patterns, textures, and precise color arrangements, she creates pieces that are often free-standing, including tall totems made from individual elements, while others are affixed to the wall and grouped. Her work is influenced by Alexander Calder, Jean Arp, and Joan Miro, as well as Anne Truitt, Carmen Herrera, and Etel Adnan. Her art reflects her interest in abstraction, surface, color, and her affinity for the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic.
Smith is a beloved veteran of the Denver art scene as an artist, curator, and board member and co-op member of Core New Art Space for decades as well as a member of Zip 37 co-op gallery in Denver from 2000 until its closing in 2018. She has also been a member of the Colorado Chapter of the Women's Caucus for Art since its inception in Denver in 1990 and is a founding member of D’art Gallery in Denver. She is the glue that has held together many of the co-ops as they have served the arts community in Denver over the years.
Sally Elliott (1937- present)
Sally Elliott was born in Denver. She lives in Boulder and has been exhibiting locally and nationally for over forty years. She received a BA and an MFA in drawing and painting from CU Boulder. She is a long-time member of Spark Cooperative Gallery in Denver where she exhibits yearly. Her paintings are mythic and mystical, a visual counterpart to the magic realism of Latin American literature.
As an artist organizer, she was a founding member of Front Range Women in the Visual Arts working on a major anniversary exhibition for the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in 2000. In 2016 she was on the steering committee that produced “A History of the Visual Arts in Boulder”, which exhibited over 300 visual arts at 18 venues.
She has received numerous art awards including from the Dairy Arts Center, a residency at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts, a Boulder Arts Commission Grant, and from the Rocky Mountain Women's Institute.
Ms. Elliott taught at colleges and universities across the United States including CU Boulder and CU Denver. She has taught at the Art Students League of Denver.
Melanie Yazzie (1966 - present)
Melanie Yazzie was born in Ganado, Arizona and grew up on the Navajo Nation. Her work draws upon her rich Diné (Navajo) cultural heritage. Yazzie earned a BA in Studio Art from Arizona State University and an MFA in printmaking from the CU Boulder. She currently teaches at CU Boulder.
Her work incorporates personal experiences with the events and symbols from Dine culture. Ms. Yazzie travels around the world and connects with other indigenous peoples. Her visits to New Zealand, the Arctic, the
Pueblos in the Southwest, and to indigenous peoples of Russia have been the impetus for continued dialogue about Indigenous cultural practices, language, song, and story and reflections on native peoples in a post-colonial world.
Ms. Yazzie has exhibited widely, both in the United States and abroad. Her work is in the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Print Collection, Providence, the Museum of Contemporary Native Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Kennedy Museum of Art, Art Collection, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, Rhodes University, Print Collection, Grahamstown, South Africa, City of Boulder, Colorado Boulder Arts + Culture, New Mexico Arts in Public Places, Art in Embassies: US Department of State, Smithsonian Institution, and the National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C