Between Ourselves

by Jessica Carreras

Monica Bowman is the owner of Ferndale art gallery The Butcher's Daughter. Situated in the LGBT-friendly city, Bowman seeks to explore issues such as gender and creativity through the contemporary art shown in her gallery space, as well as to work as an advocate for all. Currently, the gallery is showing the work of openly lesbian artist Lisa Marie Thalhammer.

1) Your gallery is in Ferndale. What fueled your decision to open it up in that area?

The primary reasons I decided to opening The Butcher's Daughter in Ferndale is the existence of an established gallery network in the area and the diversity in the community. There is freedom in Ferndale to express ideas and opinions outside the mainstream. I believe there is a public hunger for culture and open discourse here that doesn't necessarily exist in other cities.

2) How did the gallery get started?

A little over a year ago, I had just graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and was living in New York where I was attending Sotheby's Institute of Art. As I began looking for careers after graduation, it occurred to me that the type of position I wanted (arts administration and curatorial work) was scarcely available. I looked at my training and background in business and thought, "I can do this." I immediately thought of home (Detroit) and so I began working on my business plan to start The Butcher's Daughter.

3) Why is gender something you focus on when selecting featured artists?

I don't exclusively seek artists that incorporate gender into their work. However, part of The Butcher's Daughter mission is about creating innovative, cultural context for contemporary art. I'm really lucky to be able to provide a platform for artists to express their individual voices. Gender, or denial thereof, is of personal interest to me. It is everything and nothing in our society and that enigma fascinates me.

4) What do you see as your role as an ally to the LGBT community?

I am an advocate. I am a supporter. I work to expose truths (and lies) in the forum of contemporary art. This promise and my gallery's mission to principles of value for product, community and cultural investment, and dedication to quality, is my assurance that I stand behind my commitments.

5) Besides their artistic talent, what do you see as the benefit of featuring LGBT artists?

I don't think you can generalize about the LGBT artists but in my experience, they understand the importance of sharing in a collective pursuit of a diverse and accepting community. These ideas transcend art and reflect a society that I strive to be a part of.

To learn more about The Butcher's Daughter, call 248-808-6536 or visit http://www.thebutchersdaughtergallery.com.

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