Gaby Viteri is on a mission to celebrate local women in the arts. In 2022, she hosted an all-female art show and called it “First, Female.” That idea has snowballed into a community of West Palm Beach–area artists striving to elevate representation and build connections. Viteri and the board members of First, Female plan to accomplish just that through gallery exhibitions, studio visits, special events, and more.
This month, Viteri is mounting a show entitled “Pink Waves” at the West Palm Beach studio of her co-curator, Sarah LaPierre. A portion of proceeds from art sales and related programing (including a wellness panel, workshops, and a makers market) will benefit the Promise Fund of Florida, which helps women overcome financial and cultural barriers to access breast and cervical health care. PBI caught up with Viteri to discuss the exhibit and more.
PBI: What does elevated female representation in the arts mean to you?
Viteri: I am very inspired by the Guerrilla Girls. Their art is about statistics of female versus male. What’s in museums? Who are the collectors? What are we paying for? I’ve been very fortunate to see them speak twice, and that led me to ask these questions. Representation at this point means female, because the statistics are so pathetic of how many women are represented in the art world in general and how much people pay for women artists compared to male. The disparity is crazy. We’re here, we’re local, we’re working. There’s beauty in numbers, [and] there are so many of us here in Palm Beach County. There are some important artists here, and they get overlooked. When we’re all together showing something like “Pink Waves,” it’s hard to overlook.
What does pink represent to you?
The pink concept came 100 percent from my co-curator, Sarah LaPierre of Thick Paint. To me, it represents femininity, girl power. Especially right now, we’re having a Barbie moment. For us, it was tied into women’s wellness with it being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And it is really just a fun color that I see a lot of the artists themselves leaning into. [Pink] doesn’t have to mean anything except for what we want it to mean. I think that, again, it’s the power of numbers. I wanted to see how 22 women would interpret this color that has been such an integral part of being brought up as a female.
Do you feel like there’s a West Palm Beach aesthetic?
There certainly is. It’s a very Florida aesthetic. It’s very different than the Palm Beach aesthetic, which everyone thinks about when they think about the area. That’s another thing that I’m very passionate about—to be able to distinguish one from the other. West Palm Beach has been having this creative movement for a long time and people have taken notice. The aesthetic is fun, colorful, and very Florida.
What advice would you give young women looking to break into a creative field?
Just do it. Push. Find a community, find a mentor, find someone who’s doing what you’re doing and just see how they do it. Ask questions, because more than likely they’re going to be very happy to answer. That’s the whole point; find a mirror to see what other people are doing so that you know that you can also do it.