Over 50 Artist Icon: Susan UnterbergThis is the 2nd in my series of Over 50 Ladies of Inspiration. Susan Unterberg and her sister inherited a foundation from their father. So, for the last 22 years, she has paid out a total of $5.5 MILLION (yes millions!) to support under-recognized female artists over age 40.
Now you may ask, "is it really necessary to provide this kind of support to female artists?" The answer is a resounding YES. Take a look at this fact: It was announced in July 2018 that the National Gallery in London acquired artwork by Artemisia Gentileschi ... THE FIRST TIME THE WORK OF A FEMALE ARTIST AS BEEN ACQUIRED BY THE GALLERY IN 27 YEARS! That doesn't seem possible, does it? But it's true.
So the philanthropy of Unterberg is critical. One of the artists, recently, that received a grant from Unterberg - at a much needed time when she was unable to pay even her rent - was Amy Sherald. She received the grant right before it was announced that she was selected to paint Michelle Obama for the National Portrait Gallery.
As an aside, on a recent trip to D.C., we were able to visit the National Portrait Gallery. As a teen, I had spent many weekends, staying with my grandmother who lived in Washington, and visiting the museums together. But the National Portrait Gallery was limited in its exhibits back then and we never even visited.
But going recently, I was blown away. The building is gorgeous and the exhibits vast and wonderful. The Presidential Hall was fascinating, not just seeing all the portraits, but they have included a vivid description of each President's terms, spelling out challenges and issues of the times. It makes you realize there is no such thing as "the good old days". Politics was always politics and issues, fights, and dissatisfaction with the state of affairs has always been a part of our history.
So wrapping up, thank you to Susan Unterberg for supporting artists, like Amy Sherald and many others, helping to make it possible to give women a place in the National Portrait Gallery and beyond.