Art Professor Receives $25K Award

Occidental College’s Linda Besemer has received an Anonymous Was A Woman Award – a $25,000 strings-free grant for women artists age 45 and older. 


She was one of 10 artists selected to receive the foundation’s grant, designed to enable women at a critical juncture in their lives or careers to continue to grow and pursue their work.

"I am thrilled to have been nominated and even more honored to have been included in this distinguished group of AWAW winners -- both past and present," said Besemer, the James Irvine Distinguished Professor of Art History and Visual Arts. An internationally known artist, she has taught studio courses in painting and drawing at all levels since l987, from basic techniques to advanced criticism seminars.

Some 161 women have received the award over the last 16 years. Each year, an outstanding group of distinguished women – art historians, curators, writers and previous winners – serve as nominators. As the name implies, the nominators and those associated with the program are unnamed.

"Anonymous Was A Woman Awards are synonymous with important recognition in artists’ personal and artistic development," said Lauren Katzowitz Shenfield, director of the program. "The financial gift helps artists buy time, space, materials, and equipment, often at early stages of a new project, and, sometimes, recover from traumatic life events. In itself, the award helps artists feel recognized and honored by other distinguished women who seek no credit for the role they play."

In addition to her art instruction, Besemer has also taught academic courses in gender theory. She has served as chair of the departments of art history and the visual arts and women’s studies. In 2005, she was awarded Occidental’s highest faculty honor for professional achievement, the Graham L. Sterling Memorial Award.

Besemer’s paintings have been featured in numerous museums, most notably the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Albright Knox Museum, the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, the South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art, SITE Santa Fe, the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Weatherspoon Museum of Art, the Portland Art Museum, and the Palm Beach ICA. She is also exhibiting internationally in England, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Mexico.

Besemer is a recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the George and Eliza Howard Foundation Grant in Painting, and the Chuck Close Rome Prize in Painting from the American Academy in Rome. She is represented by Angles Gallery in Santa Monica.

Anonymous Was A Woman, a program of FJC-A Foundation of Philanthropic Funds, is administered by Philanthropy Advisors, LLC, a comprehensive consulting and management organization for private philanthropy. The name of the grant program, Anonymous Was A Woman, refers to a line in Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.