Giving Women Artists a Voice

Divine Feminine, mixed media/upcycled collage by artist Tanya Mikaela. Photo: Tanya Mikaela.

Ten Women Gallary in Santa Monica.

By Keldine Hull

What started as 10 female artists with 100-square feet of space thas grown to nearly 30 artists and 900-square feet 25 years later. Located on Main Street, and with a second location on Montana, Ten Women Gallery has evolved to become a beloved staple within the community, helping give women a voice by providing them a space to express themselves artistically.

Sara Cron has been with Ten Women Gallery for 23 years and is one of the longest standing members of the group.

“Ten women is iconic in Santa Monica. We’re one of the longest standing businesses on a significant stretch of Main Street,” Cron said. “Ten Women started in 1994. There were 10 female artists who were looking for a small spot to have an art show for a month. It was so successful that they decided to keep the space and turn it into more. They turned it into Ten Women, into the co-op.”

An abstract portrait by Ana Boghosian. Photo: Ana Boghosian.

Cron continues, “We all run the business. We split the expenses amongst us, and we each work a shift to keep the gallery open. And then when something sells, 100 percent of the money goes directly to the artist. Besides the fact that we’re this unique, nurturing group of women who are amazing artists, our business model has allowed us to stay open this long as well.”

The art represented at Ten Women Gallery is as different and unique as the artists themselves. From ceramic and mixed media artists to watercolorists and jewelers, according to Cron, their art truly runs the gamut. Carol Davis is a mosaic artist and one of the newest members of the co-op.

“There’s not a whole lot of co-ops that are all women,” Davis said. “The other artists are super welcoming and super friendly. It’s a really beautiful space. It has high ceilings, and it’s all white so the artwork really pops from the wall. We all sort of rent our space so we all have our own little store. It’s like your own little marketplace. We can do what we want with our own space. You actually get to meet the people who buy your work. I happened to be there when I sold a piece, and it’s always nice to know that your work is going to a loving, appreciative family.”

Beyond being talented artists, everyone involved comes with their own set of special skills that play a role in maintaining the business. Cron explains, “There’s a few women who are really good at doing website design so they’re designing our new website. There are women who are good at publicity.”

In a time of female backed movements meant to support women as they find their voice, Ten Women Gallery has become even more relevant than it was 25 years ago. Cron continues, “We’re just this nurturing group of women who allow the artists to explore their art. I’m a feminist from way back when. I can’t tell you how much I’ve gotten in my life from being a part of this group of women. We’re all heard, and we’re doing it because art is our passion and it feeds the soul.”

To learn more about the artists at Ten Women Gallery, visit: https://tenwomengallery.com