History and Highlights - University of Houston
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History of 77 Conference & Highlights

The City of Houston welcomed the thousands of delegates and visitors with a variety of arts and cultural events around town celebrating women in the arts. Houston’s Women in the Arts participated in these events and helped organize and produce a massive effort of cultural events around the city. 

The 1977 National Women’s Conference featured four panels focusing on the advancement of women in the arts and humanities. The first two panels bore the same name, “Improving the Status of Women in Art: Success Stories & Strategies for Gaining Recognition & Rewards,” and featured Judith Broadsky (then-president of WCA), Miriam Schapiro (feminist art movement pioneer), June Wayne (American artist), Howardina Pindell (then-curator at MoMA, also founding member of Feminist Art Movement), Ellouise Shoettler (DC Women’s Art Center), Arlene Raven (art historian, co-founder of LA’s Women’s Building and founding member of feminist art movement), May Stevens (A.I.R. Gallery) and Cynthia Navaretta (chair of Pro Tem of coalition of Women’s Arts Organizations). A third panel explored “Women and Music” and featured Dr. Merle Montgomery (president of National Music Council), Martha Moore Sykes (president of NY Opera Guild), and Julis Smith (composer and pianist). The final arts panel focused on “Women in Theatre, Film, Television, and Radio.” Dynamic arts performances and exhibitions in the Albert Thomas Convention Center enhanced and further emphasized the official conference panels on these topics.

The dynamic arts programming of the 1977 National Women’s Conference, along with Houston’s diversity of arts and lively cultural resources inspired the event “Go Forth From Houston.” This year’s event was conceived, funded and planned at UH in less than three months by art history and women’s studies graduate student Liia Thrasher. The event is a testament to the wealth of talented women in the arts in Houston as well as the immense support provided by the new Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts, the University of Houston and other local institutions.