Women of Worth, traveling exhibit now open in Upton Hall


Olivia Smith/The Record

Women of Worth: Opening Doors to Social Change is open until Nov. 6

Olivia Smith, Reporter

Now open at SUNY Buffalo State is the traveling exhibition, Women of Worth: Opening Doors to Social Change, located in Upton Hall’s Czurles-Nelson Gallery.

Buffalo State’s philosophy and humanities department, along with the visual arts program, are co-hosting the exhibit.

Women of Worth is a historical-based traveling exhibition that contains a projection about the research travels, biographical panels, photographs, clothing, and sundry ephemera to create a visual essay.

It is intended to enhance the viewer’s understanding of the importance of women business leaders and demonstrates their noteworthy contributions to industry, and their impact on society.

The women featured are “Jennie Louise Blanchard Bethune, Jeanne Gang, and Julia Morgan in architecture; Andrea Jung, Annie Minerva Turnbo Malone, and Helena Rubinstein in cosmetics; and Ellen Demorest, Ellen Donnelley Reed, and Eileen Fisher in textiles,” Buffalo State News and Events said.

Retired arts professor from Siena Heights University, Professor Christine Reising, co-created the exhibition with marketing professor Claudia Blanchard.

Blanchard first trained as a cultural anthropologist, but also studies business through the lens of a social scientist. Blanchard hypothesized that women in commerce use their economic strength for social change, so she created this project.

Though philosophy is not directly involved with the exhibit, Philosophy Professor Kimberly Blessing thought this exhibit would offer a new and interesting perspective of women in leadership positions.

“The philosophy angle relates to the fact that they are looking at business ethics and corporate social responsibility —something we talk about in our classes,” Blessing said.

The idea for Reising and Blanchard’s exhibit began in 2013, but took two years to research and execute.

The two researched historical businesswomen in a typically male-dominated field, as well as the development of women’s corporate social responsibility. The women they chose are all Americans, but from diverse ethnicities, socio-economic status, and locations.

“The common thread is their utilization of business as a means to improve the welfare of society,” Reising said.

The original viewing of the exhibit was at Siena Heights University, where Reising and Blanchard had worked together for many years. Blessing also previously taught there, which is how the connection was made to bring the show to Buffalo.

“It is the second showing and we hope to have others,” Reising said. “We are currently in the process of applying to The Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.”

Buffalo is also home to one of the women featured, Jennie Louise Blanchard Bethune.

Blanchard toured several of Bethune’s buildings in Buffalo and discovered her importance in architecture and contributions to social change.

Women of Worth has a variety of art forms on display, from clothing, to a video projection, and photographs.

“My favorite work would be the three hanging transparent banners representing the women and their related industries,” Reising said.

The exhibit is open during gallery hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., until Nov. 6.

On Nov. 6, there will be a closing reception with food and music sponsored by the art and philosophy departments. Reising and Blanchard will be there to chat about their exhibition.

“As educators, we look forward to talking with students about the collaboration between our disciplines of art and business,” Reising said.


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