Executive Director Janice Sands and artist Josephine Barreiro talk to NYC-ARTS about Pen + Brush, a nonprofit organization that has been providing a platform for women in the literary and visual arts by showcasing high-quality, professional work since 1894.

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> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'NYC ARTS.'

WE'LL BEGIN OUR PROGRAM THIS EVENING WITH A VISIT TO THE GALLERIES OF PEN AND BRUSH, AN ORGANIZATION THAT ADDRESSES THE STRUGGLE BY WOMEN IN THE ARTS AND LITERATURE FOR EQUALITY AND RECOGNITION.

LOCATED IN THE FLATIRON DISTRICT, PEN AND BRUSH HAS PROVIDED A PLATFORM FOR WOMEN IN THE LITERARY AND VISUAL ARTS SINCE 1894.

ITS MISSION IS TO ADVOCATE THAT ART IS VALUED SOLELY ON ITS OWN MERIT WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE GENDER OF ITS MAKER.

'NYC ARTS' SPOKE WITH JANICE SANDS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF PEN AND BRUSH, AS WELL AS ONE OF THE ARTISTS REPRESENTED IN THEIR RECENT EXHIBITION CALLED 'BROAD STROKES.'

PEN AND BRUSH WAS STARTED BY JANET AND MARY LOU BUSINESS AND A GROUP OF THEIR FRIENDS IN 1894 SO THAT THEY COULD MEET AND SHARE THEIR WORK WITH OTHER LIKE-MINDED PROFESSIONALS.

THEY WERE DENIED ADMISSION TO ALL OF THE OTHER PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AT THAT TIME BECAUSE OF THEIR GENDER.

THEY DRAFTED A SET OF BYLAWS AND WERE ABLE TO LIVE UNDER THOSE RULES ACCORDING TO THE MISSION OF THE ORGANIZATION UNTIL THEY DECIDED IN 1912 THAT THEY WOULD MARCH DOWN TO THE DEPARTMENT OF CORPORATIONS AND INCORPORATE.

WOMEN DID NOT GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE UNTIL 1920.

SO THEY WERE DETERMINED AND COURAGEOUS.

FROM THAT MOMENT ON, PEN AND BRUSH HAS BEEN DEVOTED TO GIVING WOMEN A PLACE TO SHOW THEIR WORK.

THIS IS BOTH VISUAL ARTS AND LITERARY ARTS.

AND THE ORGANIZATION PROVIDES THE KIND OF PLATFORM SO THAT THAT WORK CAN GET THE EXPOSURE IT NEEDS FOR WOMEN TO BE RECOGNIZED.

PEN AND BRUSH PURCHASED A LOVELY TOWNHOUSE IN 1923 ON 10th STREET IN GREENWICH VILLAGE.

IT WAS A CLUBHOUSE.

AND THAT'S WHAT THE WOMEN OF THE ORGANIZATION WANTED.

BUT FAST FORWARD TO 2008.

AND WE BEGAN TO EXPLORE THE POSSIBILITY OF SELLING THE BUILDING AND FINDING QUARTERS THAT WOULD ENABLE US TO EXPOSE AND EXHIBIT THE KIND OF WORK THAT WOMEN IN THE 21st CENTURY WERE MAKING.

WE FOUND THE SPACE WE'RE IN NOW ON 22nd STREET.

SO WE MOVED IN AND ACTUALLY OPENED IN OCTOBER OF 2015.

WE'RE OPEN TO THE STREET.

WE HAVE VISIBILITY THAT WE COULD ONLY HAVE DREAMED OF ON 10th STREET.

WE THINK IT'S PART OF OUR MISSION TO BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, FREE OF CHARGE, SO PEOPLE CAN COME IN AND SEE THE WORK.

WOMEN ONLY EXHIBITIONS I THINK ARE A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF WHAT PEN AND BRUSH DOES.

IT IS A DIRECT AND POTENT WAY TO ADDRESS STEREOTYPES THAT ARE DAMAGING TO WOMEN.

PRIMARILY THE STEREOTYPE THAT THERE IS NOT ENOUGH GOOD WORK BY WOMEN.

THE SHOW THAT WAS JUST IN OUR GALLERY WAS A SHOW CALLED 'BROAD STROKES.'

TO THE EXTENT THE SHOW HAD A UNIFYING THEME, IT WAS THE DIVERSITY OF WOMEN'S WORK.

IT REALLY DID A GOOD JOB OF POINTING OUT THAT WOMEN CAN WORK IN MULTIPLE MEDIA AND DO WORK THAT'S VERY SUBTLE, DO WORK THAT'S VERY BOLD AND AGGRESSIVE.

IT ADDRESSES A STEREOTYPE THAT HAS BEEN VERY DIFFICULT TO FIGHT, AND THAT IS THAT WORK BY WOMEN IS USUALLY ABOUT MOTHERS AND CHILDREN AND LACKS A CERTAIN BOLDNESS AND CAN BE READILY IDENTIFIED AS A WORK BY A WOMAN.

AS A WELL I FEEL BY HAVE TO WORK TWICE AS HARD AND -- TO PROVE YOURSELF.

I REMEMBER BEING ONCE IN THIS EXHIBITION AND THIS GENTLEMAN WAS LOOKING AT MY ARTWORK AND HE ASKED WHO PAINTED THIS PIECE?

SOMEBODY WENT TO GO GET ME, THEY BROUGHT ME TO HIM.

AND HE'S LIKE THIS WORK IS REALLY GOOD.

IT'S VERY STRONG.

RIGHT WHEN I WAS ABOUT TO SAY THANK YOU, HE STATED, YOU WOULD NEVER THINK A WOMAN PAINTED THIS PIECE, YOU PAINT LIKE A GUY.

YOU KNOW HE MEANT WELL, BUT I DON'T THINK HE MEANT TO SAY IT THAT WAY, BUT IT WAS VERY INSULTING AS A WOMAN ARTIST, BECAUSE I PAINT LIKE ME.

I PAINT BECAUSE I HAVE TO.

BECAUSE I'M AN ARTIST.

I LIKE TO PAINT WHAT I SEE AND WHAT I FEEL.

AND I WANT MY IMAGES TO REPRESENT LIVING THINGS THAT SHOW THOUGHT AND INTENTION AND EMOTION.

GROWING UP IN SPAIN WE WOULD ATTEND BULL FIGHTS.

THEY CAUSED ME MUCH ANXIETY AND SADNESS TO SEE THAT THE BULL WAS BEING TORTURED LIKE THAT AND TAUNTED TILL ITS DEATH.

WHEN I PAINTED THE PICTURES, I WANTED TO REPRESENT AND HONOR THE BULL.

HE'S TAKING HIS LAST BREATHS AND FIGHTING HIS LAST FIGHT BEFORE HIS LIFE IS TAKEN FROM HIM SENSELESSLY.

MY ADVICE FOR WOMEN ARTISTS THAT ARE STARTING IS NOT TO TAKE NO AS AN ANSWER.

THAT IF YOU RECEIVE A REJECTION, JUST KEEP PURSUING.

BECAUSE WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS WORTHWHILE.

IF YOU PROVE THAT YOU'RE COMMITTED AND A HARD-WORKING PERSON AS AN ARTIST OR AT ANYTHING YOU COMPANY DO, I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE YOU FOR WHO YOU REALLY ARE.

THE ORGANIZATION HAS ALWAYS SERVED WOMEN WHO ARE WRITERS.

THERE ARE NOW ABUNDANT STATISTICS THAT SHOW THAT FEWER WOMEN ARE PUBLISHED THAN MEN.

FEWER WOMEN GET REVIEWS OF THEIR WORK IN TOP-TIER MAGAZINES.

SO THERE IS WORK TO BE DONE THERE.

WE LIMIT OUR SUBMISSIONS TO LITERARY FICTION.

WE DO ACCEPT POETRY AND SHORT STORIES, NOVELLAS, NOVELS.

IN ADDITION TO OUR EXHIBITIONS AND OUR PUBLISHING PROGRAM, WE DO ACTUALLY HAVE READINGS AND PANEL DISCUSSIONS.

WE HAVE A READING SERIES CALLED 'PEN AND BRUSH PRESENTS' WHICH IS CURATED ACTUALLY BY PUBLISHER KATE ANGUS FROM AUGUSTRY PRESS.

SCIENCES ORIGINAL BUILT THE TOY TO MURDER PEOPLE IN OTHER COUNTRIES.

NOW THIS PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY WANT TO BUY THEM.

WHY?

I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA.

BUT I CAN'T WAIT TO KILL ONE.

SHOOT IT WITH A SHOTGUN.

LIGHT IT ON FIRE.

THE IDEA OF PARITY IS WHERE WE COME OUT.

AND EVERYTHING THAT WE DO IS LOOKED AT FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE.

IS IT AN ACTIVITY, IS IT A PROGRAM, THAT HELPS US HELP WOMEN ACHIEVE PARITY IN VISUAL ARTS AND LITERARY ARTS?

122 YEARS, 123 YEARS, IS APPARENTLY NOT QUITE ENOUGH TIME TO ADDRESS THAT.

WE DO RECOGNIZE THIS IS PART OF A MUCH LARGER SOCIETAL ISSUE, AND THE ARTS AND LITERATURE IS OUR SOLE PIECE.

WHAT WE ARE TRYING TO DO IS GET TO A PLACE WHERE GENDER PARITY MEANS MERIT, NOT GENDER OF THE CREATOR.