120 years
  • 1894

    Foundation of
    Pen + Brush

    In 1893, Miss Janet C. Lewis of New York, a painter, sent a letter to a number of female acquaintances proposing the establishment of a new club exclusively for women interested in pursuits of both art and literature. The purpose of this organization, as Lewis described, was to be for mutual improvement, advancement and social intercourse. The club was to be called the “Pen and Brush.”

    “The founders of Pen and Brush planted the seeds of an open and mutually beneficial organization for women artists and writers.” – Janice Sands, Executive Director

    The first official meeting of Pen & Brush was held in the Fifth Avenue Hotel on March 29, 1894.

  • 1912

    PEN + BRUSH IS INCORPORATED

    Under the presidency of accomplished writer and suffragist Grace Seton, eight years before women were granted the right to vote, the Pen & Brush Club became an established legal corporation: The Pen and Brush, Inc. The organization continued to flourish under the 30-year presidency of investigative journalist and writer Ida Tarbell. Members included Pulitzer Prize winning authors Marianne Moore, Margaret Widdemer, and Pearl Buck, who also received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and renowned visual artists Isabel Whitney, Malvina Hoffman, Clara Sipprell, and Jessie Tarbox Beals.

    Eight years before women were legally granted the right to vote, the women of the Pen & Brush Club became an established legal corporation: The Pen and Brush, Inc.
  • 1923

    THE ORIGINAL GALLERY

    The purchase of the building on 10th Street in Manhattan marks the beginning of a period of stability for the organization’s programming. For 29 years before this, various locations had to be rented for all Pen and Brush activities, including meetings and exhibitions. The image shown here of the building shortly after its purchase was taken by Jessie Tarbox Beals, fittingly the first published female photojournalist in the United States.

    The purchase of the building on 10th Street in Manhattan marks the beginning of a period of stability for the organization’s programming.
  • 1963

    The Burning of the Mortgage

    The celebratory “Burning of the Mortgage” was a powerful moment in the organization’s history, and a visual representation of its commitment to utilizing its assets to further its cause. The catalog commemorating this event includes a list of the writers of The Pen and Brush, Inc.

    “Our founders pioneered for the recognition of women in the fields of art and literature. It is up to us today and to those who will come after us to keep alive this pioneer spirit – to lead the way – to seek higher standards in our work – to live and create in the climate of our time, yet be tempered by experience and knowledge of the past.” -President Elizabeth Cowen, 1963
  • 2005

    A Citation from New York City

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed "Pen and Brush Day" on October 23, 2005. He cited the organization’s history and contributions to New York City as cause for recognition: “Pen and Brush’s initial vitality shows no sign of waning. Every season, its galleries host numerous exhibitions, workshops, forums, discussions, concerts, recitals, and readings.” Bloomberg quoted Pen and Brush Pulitzer Prize winning author Marianne Moore, “Beauty is everlasting / and dust is for a time,” concluding that, “For 110 years, Pen and Brush has helped female artists and writers express themselves through enduring works of art.”

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proclaimed "Pen and Brush Day," honoring the organization for its continued vitality "in a city that is both the artistic capital of the world and a bastion of opportunity."
  • 2014

    A TURNING POINT FOR PEN + BRUSH

    As we celebrate our 120th anniversary, we will unveil of our state-of-the-art facility in New York’s Flatiron District, offering collectors, curators, and the public the chance to experience diverse work by women that reflects the contemporary art and literary landscapes. With a renewed focus on advocacy and mentoring, Pen and Brush will continue to work toward establishing a pipeline to the marketplace for emerging women artists. Through our new exhibition space, we will give publishers, agents, collectors and gallery owners a renewing supply of quality work necessary for a lasting shift in the marketplace to take hold. Until it’s all about the art, and not the artist’s gender, Pen and Brush will continue its work through 2014 and beyond.

    With a renewed focus on advocacy and mentoring, Pen and Brush aims to continue to represent female artists and writers in ways that will significantly impact their careers, by creating a platform to the marketplace for emerging women artists.

Current News

Women Artists Who Broke the Mold, by Janice Sands

03/28/2014 | In the Media | The Huffington Post

Pen and Brush Arts Group Changes Formula, by Theresa Agovino

03/06/2014 | In the Media | Crain's New York Business

What Does It Mean to Be a Professional Artist? by Janice Sands

02/21/2014 | In the Media | The Huffington Post

Janice Sands Discusses the Future Pen and Brush on Untapped Cities with Lynn Lieberman

02/14/2014 | In the Media |Untapped Cities

Women: A Year in Review, From the Arts and Beyond, by Janice Sands

12/23/2013 | In the Media | The Huffington Post

From The Boardroom to the Gallery, Women Shut Out, by Janice Sands

11/01/2013 | In the Media | The Huffington Post

The Past and Present Reality of Inequality for Women Artists is Being Considered Around the World

08/14/2013 | In the Media | Art of The Times

Women Are in the News

Featured on page 7 of the fall season issue

10/21/2013 | In the Media | Art of The Times

Towards Gender Parity: Quality and Fairness in the Art Market

06/02/2013 | In the Media | artcritical

'Pen And Brush': Female Artist Non Profit Director Janice Sands Talks Women and Art

05/09/2013 | In the Media | The Huffington Post

Facebook's New Policy Erases the Ads, Not the Hate, Critics Say

06/28/2013 | In the Media | Social Times

Announcements

Announcing New Program for Artists and Writers

Pen and Brush: Our New Facility and Website Are Being Renovated