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'Phenomenal,' 'Dangerous,' 'Invisible': Women's History Month exhibits tout female artists

The idea behind curator Byron Swart’s female-driven art exhibit in Pompano Beach, “No Constraints to Beauty,” was forged in a moment of frustration and sympathy. While reading statistics published in a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts study, Swart found that while 51 percent of professional visual artists are female, women earn roughly 81 cents for every dollar made by men.

The glaring figures were motivation enough. Coinciding with Women’s History Month, “No Constraints to Beauty,” opening Thursday, March 1, at the Pompano Beach Cultural Center, celebrates what Swart calls South Florida’s “female powerhouses,” 15 artists whose paintings and sculptures champion women’s rights and accomplishments.

“If you look at the works here — the sculptures and paintings — it’s obvious that anything a man can do, a female can do,” Swart says. “The whole premise is to celebrate the women in South Florida trying to make their voices heard, and not to take them for granted.”

“No Constraints to Beauty” joins two other female-centric art exhibits opening for Women’s History Month. Following is a breakdown of these shows.

“The Invisible Woman”

Saturday, March 10, through May 2 at ConcreteSpace Art Projects, 3400 NW 78th Ave., Doral; free admission; 305-219-0811 or ConcreteSpace.net

Nine empowering photographs about femininity by nine veteran photographers — Peggy Nolan, Priscilla Forthman, Sheila Elias, Mirta Gomez, Alexandra del Canto, Gloria O’Connell, Angelika Rinnhofer, Niloufar Banisadr and Lissette Schaeffler — are featured in this show, opening with a reception 4-7 p.m. March 10. “Too often, women are unsung heroes,” ConcreteSpace owner Flor Mayoral says in a prepared statement. “We are celebrating women that help our community behind the scenes.”

“Dangerous Women”

Through May 20 at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum at Florida International University, 10975 SW 17 St., Miami; free admission; 305-348-2890 or TheFrost.FIU.edu

Twenty works by old masters feature feisty heroines, biblical temptresses, femmes fatales and other headstrong subjects in this collection of 16th and 17th century paintings of women of the Bible, on view now at the museum. These portraits, which include Salome, Mary Magdalene, Delilah and Lot's daughters, demonstrate “how powerful women were feared, even when their acts were heroic,” says Frost Art Museum director Jordana Pomeroy, adding that “Dangerous Women” shares parallels with the #MeToo movement. “We want our audiences to appreciate the narrative of women who are either victims of sexual violence or dominate powerful men, which feels utterly relevant to conversations trending right now."

“No Constraints to Beauty”

All day March 1-31 at Pompano Beach Cultural Center, 50 W. Atlantic Blvd.; free admission; 954-545-7800 or CCPompano.org

Works by Mimi Botscheller, Leah Brown, Janet Gold, Kelcie McQuaid, Lori Pratico, Hilda Vidal and others are featured in this show, which will be paired with an art-music-and-gabbing gathering titled “artPOP! Phenomenal Women” at 7:30-10 p.m. March 8. During the event, going down at the cultural center’s plaza, six artists (five female, one male) will race to finish fresh canvasses in a 45-minute art battle. There will also be chalk-art activities, food trucks, art vendors and performances by local R&B, hip-hop and spoken-word musicians.

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