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Stand up and be counted: Hundreds of contemporary female artists participate in historic photo

Artists gathered Oct. 25 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts for “Now Be Here #4.” (Photo by Kim Johnson/Courtesy of Kim Schoenstadt, Linn Meyers and National Museum of Women in the Arts.)
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Hoping to bring attention to the region’s vibrant arts scene, almost 500 female contemporary artists gathered at the National Museum of Women in the Arts on Wednesday night for a historic group photograph.

Conceived by Los Angeles-based artist Kim Schoenstadt in collaboration with D.C. artist Linn Meyers, “Now Be Here #4″ is the latest in gatherings of “female and female-identifying visual artists in the local community,” according to the project’s website. Previous gatherings occurred in L.A., New York and Miami last year.

The project alerts the public to the number of female artists in their cities, many of whom are invisible, the artists said.

“Seeing is believing. You have all these curated shows of female artists, and curators stand up and say there were so many more artists. Okay, but how many more?” she said. “If you hold up a discrepancy, point it out, people have to confront it.”

The D.C./Md./Va. version of “Now Be Here” was photographed by Kim Johnson. Meyers was one of 465 who participated.

“The D.C. metropolitan region has a strong arts community, yet we’re overlooked,” Meyers said. “There’s not a lot of visibility here, there aren’t a lot of commercial galleries. This is the perfect project to make that point.”

The photograph was followed by an artist resource fair at the museum. In addition, the museum has created a program of talks and lectures highlighting female artists and issues related to them. Information is at