“Getting recognized (by Art and Living) was a milestone, since I have never gotten an award,” says Dorian Bergen, co-proprietor (with husband Jeff) of ACA Galleries. “The gallery has been in the trenches, showing women’s art since its founding in 1932,” she continues, emphasizing that ACA has always been “a people’s gallery” and is still committed to make art accessible to the broadest possible audience.
Even during the Great Depression, the venue, founded by Jeff Bergen’s great uncle Herman Baron, showed contemporary American artists and, during the 1950s, the gallery did not hesitate to spotlight political and controversial art. “We show artists on merit, regardless of whether they sell,” says Dorian.
While she accepted the award, it’s Jeff, a feminist in his own right, who voices the gallery’s mission. “Women’s voices are powerful,” he explains. “We are different creatures, and a woman’s voice is different from that of a man. It’s a difference that we like to celebrate.”
While acknowledging pervasive sexism in the art world, Dorian counsels that women need to empower each other. “It’s important to promote diverse voices—art offers a different lens through which to look at life, to experience the world,” she says.