In the first year, EWI operated Marga's home basement, and reached out to immigrant communities through Marga's empowerment workshops for women. Her workshops focused on revitalizing women's talents and skills, and translating women's successful experiences in their native countries to success in the US. The workshops were so inspirational that women started not just to talk about the myriad of talents they had, but to create art. After a year of providing workshops and outreach to immigrant women, Marga knew that EWI's niche for empowerment is the arts.
In 2003, Marga created A Woman's Story Gallery in Old Town Alexandria to feature women's art and tell their stories. The gallery was located initially at 1212 Prince St., and hosted monthly exhibitions, art programs, and business and empowerment classes for immigrant women and their families. The gallery's focus was on displaying women's art and introducing the American community to the immigrant art. Retail was only occasional and at special events.
In 2005, Marga formalized the business classes into a three-month entrepreneurial program offered twice a year to help emerging artists and small entrepreneurs market and sell their works, and generate supplemental income to sustain their dreams and families.
In August 2006, EWI moved to 1307 King St and opened a new gallery and gift shop. A Woman's Story Gallery is the backbone of EWI's program. The gallery not only provides the immigrant artists with a professional venue and income generating opportunities, but serves as a training base and classroom space for the artists in the business classes, and as a cultural space and outreach site for promoting immigrant art.
3. Who does EWI serve? What countries are the artists from?
EWI works primarily with emerging immigrant artists living in the Greater Washington DC area. However since diversity and inclusiveness are two major values of the organization, EWI works also with American born women artists and men, and they represent about 10% of the artists served.
4. How many artists do we serve? How many people do we reach out to with our programs?
Annually EWI works with approximately 300 artists, who attend business classes, receive referral or marketing services and are featured in exhibitions concerts and special events. Over 2,000 community members participate yearly in our programs, either visiting our exhibitions and art programs, purchasing art from the gallery or being part of the audiences where EWI speaks and outreaches.
5. What kind of artists do we serve?
We work with painters, jewelry makers, fiber artists, knitters, musicians, writers, sculptors, home accessories designers, and much more.
6. What type of programs and services does EWI offer?
EWI offers business training as well as holds multi-cultural events, such as concerts or performances. The Training for Success business classes are offered in a three-month series, and provide life and entrepreneurial skills to emerging artists and artisans. Artists learn everything from portfolio development and public speaking to copyright, financial and legal issues of the art industry.
7. What is A Woman's Story Gallery?
A Woman's Story Gallery is a mission- driven gallery and gift shop that provides a professional venue for immigrant artists to feature and market their art.
a. What are the hours of operation?
The gallery is currently open from 11-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. We are open Saturday 11-6 p.m and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. In the weekend, the gallery is run in part with help from artists, interns and community volunteers.
b. Where do we get the art for the gallery?
The art is in majority the product of our artist members. Since EWI also works with small entrepreneurs in the arts such as people who import and sell art from other countries, we often market the art of these entrepreneurs, as long as they are EWI members and attend our business classes. Occasionally, we also carry items made by foreign artists, mostly women. The items are either donated to or purchased by EWI and featured in our gallery.
c. Is the art created in the US or overseas?
Our artist members create their works in the US, though some items in the gallery are made overseas. Each product in our gallery is labeled and shows the provenience of each art piece.
8. How can I join the gallery as an artist member?
There is a $25 artist membership fee renewable every year. Only artist members can show their art in the gallery.
9. How can I be represented by the gallery?
Once you become an artist member, you submit an art portfolio by email or in person and bring in samples for the gallery manager to review. The Gallery Manager and EWI's Director select the art pieces that are high quality, fit the gallery profile and sell well to our customers. If your work is accepted in consignment, then you will review and sign a consignment contract. EWI splits the proceeds from each piece sold 50/50 with the artist; with our 50% we support our programs and services.
10. Does the gallery represent immigrant artists exclusively? – less–ZoomInfo