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The mission of the Women Artists Forward Fund is to address gender disparity issues that exist for women artists, by providing them with financial resources to strengthen their work, along with recognition and community support to leverage their creative capital.



The Women Artist Forward Fund and the Forward Art Prize are both components of artists Brenda Baker & Bird Ross’s social practice piece, Being Forward. This work calls attention to gender inequities in the arts, explores the history and contemporary practice of women’s philanthropy in the visual arts, and works to solve underlying inequities in their regional arts community. Being Forward brings attention to the rich diversity of women visual artists in Dane County and highlights Wisconsin’s historic leadership in women’s arts philanthropy. Being Forward’s conception in 2017 coincides with the 100th anniversary of the current Wisconsin State Capitol building. The Forward Art Prize is being launched in 2019 during the 100th anniversary of Wisconsin’s ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The Women Artists Forward Fund is an endowment fund held at Madison Community Foundation created for the sole purpose of recognizing, supporting, and encouraging talented women visual artists in Dane County, Wisconsin. The Fund supports two annual, unrestricted Forward Art Prizes of $10,000 each. The Prize seeks to strengthen recipients’ practice by providing financial resources, recognition and community support to leverage their creative capital. 

The Women Artists Forward Fund ranks among the top three funds for women artists in the nation in terms of dollars awarded annually. The Fund and Prize open up important new opportunities for women artists, helps rectify current and historical inequities, and contributes positively to a thriving, inclusive arts community. 

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