Over the last decade, with founder Jane Fortune at the helm as chair and primary donor, AWA has rediscovered, restored and exhibited over 60 works by women artists spanning five centuries. Jane’s passing at the end of 2018 has brought to mind her life’s achievements and conjures a line from one of Artemisia Gentileschi's letters: 'My Lordship, I will show you what a woman can do.' Ovarian cancer claimed her body, but never did it crush her spirit. Until the end, she remained the guiding force behind the organization she so lovingly forged. The Jane Fortune Fund has been constituted in her memory, as a way to make her legacy last. Her ‘Fiorino Award video’ (viewable above) is a reminder of Jane’s steadfast passion.
Spearheading ‘the Challenge’
AWA Advisory Council member Connie Clark explains why she and her husband Doug decided to gift the 10K ‘seed money’ necessary to found the Jane Fortune Fund: “Because the ultimate goal is to guarantee AWA's sustainability past 2019, the Fund will supply the organization with on-going income. Many people's lives were touched by Jane and her quest, and we believe there is interest in guaranteeing the permanency of her vision... but that sentiment must be 'harnessed' somehow, and for us, the Jane Fortune Fund is the answer.” The Clarks are Alabama-based art lovers, who met Jane and her partner Bob Hesse through mutual friends in 2012. They have since become enthusiastic Sojourners and AWA supporters. “We are certain others will want to follow our lead,” says Doug. “As Jane would say, there is still so much work to be done!”
How it works
Contributions are tax-deductible for US donors. The Jane Fortune Fund will be invested as a fund to be used at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Funds will be disbursed only after an official vote of the Board and are not meant as operating funds. The investment’s income would be paid into the operating account each year. The idea is to give AWA long term support or the means to cover a special project in need of funding.
Inspired by Jane Fortune
Jane Fortune (1942-2018) founded Advancing Women Artists in 2009, three years after her life-changing restoration of Plautilla Nelli’s work at San Marco. Her question ‘where are the other women artists’ would morph into her mission, following her ‘Christmas gift to the city of Florence’ in 2008, a one-work exhibition that saw Artemisia Gentileschi’s David and Bathsheba returned to the Pitti Palace, after being restored to its original dignity. Dozens of women artists have since been rediscovered… along with their precious paintings and sculptures. Indeed, the world is beginning to wake up to Jane’s vision, determination and generosity. Her efforts to rescue invisible art by women must continue!