The Women Who Dared collection is displayed in hospitals around New York City

The “Women Who Dared” collection, assembled by Sandi Nicholson, is the largest private collection of women-created art, and you can see parts of it in any New York area hospital.

Nicholson spent over thirty years traveling the world to collect art by women. Her collection includes over 400 pieces of visual art by women from across 2,500 years and all seven continents. The collection includes paintings, sketches, and photography, and highlights queer women, women of color, and women from the Global South, sources of art that are commonly left out of the general conversation.

“While women have painted, sketched, and sculpted works of art for centuries, many were deprived of visibility and representation. Their contributions were often subverted and overlooked by their creative communities in favor of male colleagues and collaborators,” says the collection’s website.

The collection made its public debut in May, in New York. Not in a gallery, not in a museum, but in the area’s many hospitals.

More than 50,000 women work in New York’s hospitals, and over a million women are treated in their many facilities every year.

“The beauty of being in a hospital is it is like the museum of the future. It’s 24/7 that anyone and a different set of eyes can walk up to anytime and see,” said Nicholson.

“We’re emerging from the COVID-19 crisis and this is a thing of beauty and it lifts everyone’s spirits,” said Dr. Chervenak, chairman of OgGyn at Lenox Hill Hospital, where some of “Women Who Dared” is displayed. “The artists [sic] will be especially happy here because artists create, they struggle and create beautiful things just like our pregnant women do.”

Select works have been given a QR code, so passersby can listen to an audio track about the art voiced either by a celebrity woman or a woman in healthcare. Or both, like Sandra Lindsay, a New York nurse and the first person in the U.S. to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Photo: lev radin /