Breaking the Barriers - Women Who Impacted the Arts Exhibition on March 20 through 25th

Staff Report

Monday, February 27th, 2023

A special one-week exhibition about famous Women Artists will be showcased at the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History on March 20 through 25th featuring original paintings by Augusta artist Rhian Swain. The exhibit includes 12 portraits of female visual artists who have made an impact on the arts throughout history, as well as locally. 
Ask a school child to name some famous artists and most can probably name Van Gogh, Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci, perhaps Banksy; and one or two might even mention Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keeffe. When adults and children are queried about “famous” artists, women artists do not typically come to mind.  Yet women have been amazing artists, as talented and groundbreaking as their male counterparts. 
“Breaking the Barriers” is a series of paintings that shine a light on some of the women who have made remarkable achievements in the visual arts. Like Louise Bourgeois, who is recognized as one of the most important artists of the 20th Century and is best known for her enormous spider sculptures and installations. Sculptor Augusta Savage was one of the leading artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Berthe Morisot, a French Impressionist, who was the only woman invited to show in the very first Impressionist exhibition in 1874. The iconic Dot Queen Yayoi Kusama, who in her 90’s, continues to astound the world with her Pop art. Those are just a few of the many faces that will be encountered at the exhibition. Two local women, Lillie Morris and Staci Swider, who have received national recognition for their art, will also be featured.
A reception with refreshments, and a short panel discussion wrap up the exhibit on Saturday, March 25th at 4pm. The museum will be open during the week and school age children are encouraged to visit and receive a free coloring book (while supplies last), highlighting the twelve featured artists.
The artist, Rhian Swain received a grant from the Greater Augusta Arts Council to help fund the exhibit. The Greater Augusta Arts Council provided grant funds to 17 individual artists to help create new original arts projects in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA).  The full list with descriptions of awards is available on These grant awards were made possible by a competitive award to the Greater Augusta Arts Council from the National Endowment for the Arts funds from the American Rescue Plan to support the nonprofit arts sector in response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rhian Swain has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Atlanta College of Art. She is a painter, photographer, designer, illustrator, writer, and former talk show host. She has participated in many local exhibits, including shows in the Community Gallery of Augusta, The Augusta Municipal Building, a Private View featured Artist exhibition, and Annual WetPaint Party and Sale. Her past solo shows included exhibitions at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, Augusta Cotton Exchange, D’Timms, and the Lucy Craft Laney Museum of Black History. 
Rhian is also owner of RedWolf Advertising, an Augusta-based agency that was established in 1997.  She serves on numerous arts-related committees and is currently serving as President of the Greater Augusta Arts Council Board of Directors.