Monday, January 28, 2013

Big Car's 5 x 5

I'm excited to announce that I've been selected as one of the final 5 presenters in Big Car's 5 x 5 event! Friday, February 8th at 7pm, I get 5 slides and 5 minutes to convince the audience and judges why they should give me $10000 to create a mobile workshop. Wish me luck! 

Here was the proposal I submitted. Whether I win this or not, I'm gonna make this happen! 

Thanks to one of my backers for sharing his daughter's story about my Star Girl jar. I think it made my proposal complete:)

The Action Girl's Storytelling Workshop

"The star is where it's from. I want Patch the Puppy to play with Star Cat. I want Star Cat to be a cat. I want Star Cat to be a Star Cat. She likes to be Star Cat...playing with me. [I would] pet her and play with her. Mostly like to pet and mostly like to love and tell stories and tell stories. She loves me." - Star Cat, a story made up by a 4 year old girl

From the time we can speak, human beings tell each other stories. Ask a little girl to tell you a story, and she'll spin a wild yarn off the top of her head without hesitation. However, as girls grow up into teens, and then adults, something changes.

Despite the fact that girls make up half of the world's population, the world is short on female storytellers. In 2012, only 9% of the top grossing films in the US were directed by women. But more surprisingly, male characters outnumber females in kids movies 3:1. Why is this a problem? Because when girls don't see themselves reflected in the stories they consume, they are taught that girl's stories don't matter.

The wonderful thing about the world we live in today is that big budget movies and network TV are no longer the only media available. Thanks to the internet and social media, people from all over the world are creating the kind of content they want to see independently, and sharing it with the world. Human beings are now able to connect and communicate on a scale never before possible in human history. We live in an exciting time!

But if we want half of the world's population to be a part of this global conversation, we have to empower girls to speak up, to create, to lead.

The Action Girl's Storytelling Workshop is an idea to create a mobile art studio and media project, designed to empower girls all over Indianapolis to create stories by girls, for girls, and then share them with the world. Using public spaces such as libraries, classrooms, and community centers, the mobile studio will provide video and camera equipment, art materials, and a safe, fun environment that will encourage girls to be creative, take risks, and make something real. It will connect students with creative mentors that will teach them how to turn their story ideas into reality. Most importantly, student storytellers will be able to share their creations via the Action Girl website, specifically created for this project. Their stories will be shared and enjoyed by the world. 

By using art to empower girls to value their voices, we will be giving them the tools they need to be active members of our community, to be leaders, makers. They will grow to be women of action who will make Indianapolis a better place because they believe they have something to contribute to it, and because their stories are a part of it. Because girl's stories matter, they are a part of who we are, and they can change the world. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Girl Stories show tonight!!!

Tonight is the first of two gallery openings showcasing the Girl Stories project. Here's my artist statement for the show tonight. If you're in Indy, it's at Beech Grove Clay Works from 5p-8p. The address is 339 Main St, Beech Grove Indiana. Hope to see you there!

About the Girl Stories Project


I am an artist whose work has always revolved around storytelling. As a lover of stories in all media, my work involves elements of illustration and narrative, telling visual stories on the surface of my porcelain pots and sculptures. I love folklore, pop culture, and stories meant for children, so my work has always looked like something out of a children’s book – bright, colorful, and sometimes a little strange, but fun. Stories, especially fiction, interest me because they are treated as entertainment, but they both reflect and influence the culture we live in.

I’ve always been annoyed at the lack of diverse female characters in the majority of movies, books, and video games that I loved, but having a daughter of my own brought my interest in girl’s stories to a head. I wanted stories for her that depicted girls as more than just princesses or damsels in distress, and while they existed, they weren’t nearly as plentiful as I’d like. I began researching gender bias in the media, and it influenced my artwork so much, I decided to do a project.

In August of 2012, I launched a fundraiser on an internet site called Kickstarter, calling for backers interested in my project to donate money to help me make my project a reality. My original idea was to create a series of girl character jar sculptures with stories to go with each. I smashed my goal of $700 in less than 24 hours, and ended with over $2500 by the end of the month. I definitely wasn’t alone in my desire for better stories for girls.

Since I received more money than I needed, I decided to use the surplus to encourage other girls to tell stories with art too. I teamed up with Beech Grove Clay Works and Big Brothers Big Sisters to make a free workshop available for girls and their mentors. I was inspired by Girls Rock Indy and the Girl Scouts, both programs who focused on single sex environments to encourage girls to feel safe expressing their ideas and try new things, without feeling self-conscious or shy.

I hope to continue this project, making workshops available to girls who need them most, and who might otherwise not get an opportunity to use a ceramics studio, or may not be able to afford it.  It is my hope that by creating artwork that tells good stories about girls, and encouraging more girls and women to tell stories of their own, the next generation of artists, filmmakers, programmers, scientists, writers, and leaders will come from girls who learned to value their voice and ideas, and tell stories of their own.

“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is - it’s to imagine what is possible.” 
bell hooks