Explore this virtual collection of submissions from women creatives who contributed their voices, stories, and work in celebration of the tenacity of the female spirit and in honor of Women’s History Month 2021.
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About the Project
We have always hosted our annual Women’s Summit in March as part of the celebration of Women’s History Month. However, in 2021, with our community largely needing to stay socially distanced – we needed to celebrate this important month a little differently.
In early 2021, we launched an open call for all women writers, musicians, thespians, artists, and visionaries to submit their work by showcasing what the tenacity of the female spirit means to them. Given that so many women faced incredible hardships throughout the pandemic yet rose to the many challenges in inspiring ways, we wanted to showcase this strength, courage, and perseverance.
The exhibits within this project are from women across the US – their voices, their stories, and their creations. We hope as you visit each exhibit, you connect with each woman’s unique perspective and experiences. But most importantly, we hope that you are inspired by these amazing women and use that inspiration to share your own story with us.
The Emerald Green Exhibit
My name is Emerald Green and I am a photographer in Atlanta, GA. My submissions include images of women throughout the 2020 protests that were held throughout GA as well as Louisville, KY. I thought about what was asked of me, about me telling about myself and my work. While I was at different protests, I saw that there were only white men who were capturing moments.
The Rebekah Riggs Exhibit
I'm an art educator who is inspired by color and everything fun. I’ve always been fascinated with stars, bright colors, and art that may be considered childlike to some. But nothing makes me happier than women having fun without worrying what others think, so it empowers me to make art that radiates happiness and fun.
The Yasmin Murphy Exhibit
Hello!! My name is Yasmin Murphy and I am a photographer residing in Knoxville, Tennessee. Photography for me is the thing that allows me to be who I truly am: connecting with others, building relationships, and being creative. I love the opportunities that have allowed me to tell others stories and make their vision come to life. When I am not photographing I am bouncing around to estate sales, cooking a meal at home, or exploring Knoxville.
The Susan Verekar Exhibit
I love everything to do with color. My art often embraces raw emotion, transformation, coming into one’s power, and a balance between light and dark. I paint with acrylics and oils and play with alcohol inks. I started painting a year ago as I was struggling to find my identity after becoming a mom. It started as a creative outlet but become a way to find myself again.
The Katrina Julianne Scott Exhibit
I was taught from a young age that women were meant to be quiet and pleasant, never loud or angry. When I reached college, I encountered men who took advantage of that mindset and of my naivety. I soon found other women who shared those experiences and felt a similar sense of frustration towards the narrative expected of women.
The Mera Ragsdale Exhibit
My paintings question the way we look at feminine bodies especially in comparison to how masculine bodies are viewed. In art history, the objectification and presentation of female bodies and an accepted way to present and view them has long been prevalent, specifically as non-threatening objects of sexual desire. My work questions these long accepted practices and empowers my subjects to visually challenge the viewer.
The Sienna Prater Exhibit
I am inspired always by feelings and stories! I love to make art that has strong movement and color, and can convey depth and space in a new way. These acrylic on canvas paintings were all done in the space of about a month, and were all inspired by organic things in nature; stones, mountains, etc.
The Chloe Allison Melton Exhibit
I am inspired by nature and energy. I want to know why things happen. I am very curious. In a way, my art documents that. I also consider art my platform to communicate about important issues. I love that I can use art to inspire others. It allows me to show viewers a perspective they may not have otherwise considered. In a world where everyone is seeking change, I believe the pivotal role of the artist is to be a messenger of the many perspectives people have.
The Veronica Jones Exhibit
My name is Veronica and I'm the co-creator at Dale+Aran. I live in the US in Tennessee with my husband (the other half of Dale+Aran) and our 2 year old daughter. I changed the name of our shop a year or so ago when I first started working with clay. Dale is my Dad's middle name, mine and my daughter's. Aran is part of my daughter’s first name plus it is my very favorite place in the world....the Aran Islands in Ireland.
The Archie Liggett Exhibit
I am inspired by grandmother. She grew up in the Roaring Fork community in Gatlinburg, TN. She lived to be 94 yrs old and loved to make things. First, out of need then for joy. She was fantastic. I hand stamp metal and vintage flatware to make jewelry and gifts. I have some of my work in local shops in Clinton, TN where I live.
The Yvette Bodden Exhibit
I share these stories because I believe the spirit of a woman is one of a warrior. We are designed to withstand pain but the magic is in transforming it into greatness. Human beings have the power to create beauty from any circumstance, if the belief in self-worth and love is strong enough to bring yourself out of darkness.
The Leah Yaun Exhibit
This piece is titled “Fear of Him”. It is about a time in my life when I kept quite about a series of situations in fear of what would happen if I spoke up. It is too common women are belittled by boys because boys think they can do anything they want. I think it is important to note that women are so much stronger than what society views us as.
The Angelique Adams Exhibit
I am an engineer with over 25 years of experience in manufacturing, operations, strategy, and innovation most recently serving as the Chief Innovation Officer at Aperam, a multi-billion/yr global manufacturer of stainless steel and specialty alloys. I went from being laughed at when I told professors I wanted to pursue a Ph.D., to leading hundreds of scientists around the world.
The Meg Nocero Exhibit
When in April of 2011 I lost my mother to breast cancer, I also lost my way. Perseverance and a never give up attitude is certainly something I learned from my Italian American upbringing as well as a love of writing, reading books and the arts. Navigating the grieving process, I turned to writing as a healing tool. I started simply. I would wake in the morning and read from a book that resonated with me.
The Liberty Collins Exhibit
I'm an East TN native who grew up playing outside crushing poke berries, painting on tin with rocks, and digging in the red clay of my backyard. Now I’m a potter! I started my body vessel project in September of 2020 after a diagnosis of a chronic illness. Since then, it's blossomed into a wonderful exploration of loving my body, its limits, and overcoming shame around my illness and imperfections.
The Dorothy Verbick Exhibit
I am a middle school art teacher and a meditation/mindfulness practitioner. Before college, I had only taken an art class in elementary school. I doodled the comics (mostly Garfield), did NOT draw all the time, and did not have an encouraging family to support my art curiosity. Somehow, I still went for it.... art school made sure to let me know how far behind in knowledge I was...especially during critique.
The Mary Ruden Exhibit
My love for art was influenced by my Welsh roots, and my ability to explore museums and gardens in Europe. I am active in the Knoxville Arts Alliance and I participate in art shows in the state of Tennessee as well as surrounding states. For Women's History Month I have chosen to display a couple of different pieces I have curated over the years.
The Jalynn Baker Exhibit
Breaking Beautiful was my first organized effort to advocate for myself and other women. Throughout girlhood, I had received the message that beauty should look a certain way from the media and society. My hair, my body, my skin were all an affront to this standardized definition. As I looked around my college campus, I saw a world of beauty to be celebrated. My intention with this portrait series was to reclaim our power as women to define beauty for ourselves and to give voice to the uniqueness of each individual.
The Sarah O’Leary Exhibit
I am an artist currently exploring watercolor and mixed media work. With my art, I create my own narrative of the the freedom, joy, and sovereignty I have in my body. I am inspired by human emotion, inner wisdom, the female body, and my connection to all that is.
The Dorothy Barkley Bryson Exhibit
I am inspired by the wonders of Spiritual encounters and scientific discovery, by Nature, by Peoples, and by the remarkable diversity in every element of life. My writing is a reflection of what I see and especially the way I see it, and is a celebration of the Oneness echoed throughout all creation.
The Shannon Deana Johnson Exhibit
I am a Knoxville, TN based mixed media painter. My process is intuitive. I work to create a balance between harmony and contrast, simplicity and accumulation, and stillness and motion. As the painting progresses, I often add more concrete elements such as botanical or figurative shapes. In this latest series called, “Story of a Girl,” I have been exploring the use of imagery connected to the idea of femininity and aspects of it that are meaningful to me.
The Drocella Mugorewera Exhibit
I am a woman of faith, and I use that to help people to reach their potential. I am proud to lead an organization that welcomes refugees and asylees and helps them to be self-sufficient and to become productive and contributing members of our community. I am also inspired by people who are successful in making an impact to transform people's lives.
The Emily McClenagan Exhibit
Jane & Pearl started during my twins' nap in 2015 as a way for me to create as well as give back to others. I am partnering with Thrive Parkridge in East Knoxville to amplify their work and donate profits to help with projects such as renovating rooms and spaces in their 100-year-old building. I love to paint live at weddings, watercolor home portraits, and of course whimsical florals.
The Megan Cook Exhibit
Entrepreneurship is no joke. It's HARD work. Long hours, endless networking, small business admin, the list goes on and on. And, sometimes, being a woman in entrepreneurship is that much harder. But what nourishes and sustains me is the community I've built through it. I love that I can collaborate with other women entrepreneurs, supporting each other's dreams and work in community with each other rather than in competition with each other.
The Angela Howard Exhibit
During this past year with everything else, I felt paralyzed from moving forward-with my dreams. I had to sit with discomfort and allow everything to move at ITs own pace. After completing these dream boards, I took my own advice and moved ahead on a whim without attachment and my dream came true.
The Elizabeth Molter Exhibit
My mom has always been my inspiration my entire life. She has always been there with me through tough times and even when I had health problems she never left my side for a single minute, not to even get a bite to eat. When I found myself doodling one day writing calligraphy she, along with others, inspired me to start this business and make some money from my passion and talent.
The Mary Camarillo Exhibit
I write to understand my world. This poem is about my mother who died in April of 2019. There is so much I wish I would have asked her. She would be thrilled about my debut novel, "The Lockhart Women", which will be published in June of 2021 by She Writes Press. The novel is dedicated to my mother but is not about her at all.
The Anna Montgomery Exhibit
I am inspired by everyday things, creative design, books, music, movies, growing things, and–most of all–people. People I know, people who lived long ago, and the people who now live only in my imagination, such as my grandparents or people I meet in books.
The Connie Flachs Exhibit
I am inspired by movement and human growth, physical, mental and spiritual. This work in particular is part of a series of dance journal entries that have enabled me to document a time of major transition (of career, personal life, and place) in my life. The female spirit, to me, is sensual, feeling, flexible, and deep.
The Allison Hong Merrill Exhibit
I'm a Taiwanese immigrant writer based in Utah. My work mostly centers around my upbringing in Chinese culture, which sadly, conditions women and girls to submit to men's will.
The Alaina René Williams Exhibit
This submission is about a production I hosted for women of color! It was to inspire them and others about how confident, radiant and strong we (as women) can be! This production was to support, honor and recognize these women who have built a life of strength, confidence and success.
The Victoria Walsh Exhibit
My work is texture inspired. Shadows, light play and layers add to the depth of my fiber art and practice. This piece was made during a recent residency at The Art and History Museums in Maitland FL, right before leaving my hometown and moving to Knoxville TN.
The Ruth Everhart Exhibit
Authors usually choose what topic they’re going to study, especially a topic that will consume their energy for years. But sometimes the reverse occurs. Sometimes the topic chooses the author.
The Cheryl Prose Exhibit
The MeToo Art Project launched October 2017 and is designed to (1) give survivors of sexual violence another vehicle by which to speak their truth about their experience, (2) be a means by which to hold perpetrators accountable, (3) raise awareness of the epidemic of sexual harassment and assault, and (4) be a means by which solidarity is shown- without regard to gender- with and to those who have experienced this type of life-altering attack.
The Jessica Carr Exhibit
When I read the prompt, I knew I wanted to do a food recipe that reflected how strong my mom is. Strength can be shown in different ways and one of those ways is through adaptability and making the best of what you have. My mom has always inspired me to be a better person and an even better baker. I created Girls Gotta Eat Good Asian Bakery because she taught me to love food and to share that love with everyone.
The Shay Coope Exhibit
I'm Shay Coope, shop owner of P.S. With Lovee. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker, mother to a beautiful little girl, wife to an amazing husband, and lover of all things colorful! To me, being a woman means being a complete badass! We are strong, nurturing, amazing multitaskers, and true advocates of what we believe in.
The Kendra Barth Exhibit
This Illustration, titled "Fierce" is my representation of the tenacity of the female spirit. In nature spotted Hyenas organize under a matriarch and work together, using teamwork and intelligence to hunt and outwit rivals. They are strong, female opportunists and damn scary.
The Ashley Garner Exhibit
My submission was inspired by all the many ways over time I, like all women, just had to figure it out. As a result of figuring it out, I have built a successful custom painting and furniture restoration business (Nest) as well as a writing career, writing for The Dollywood Company, Knoxville Mom's, Her View From Home, and Today.com.
The Jennifer MacIsaac Exhibit
I have always wanted to learn how to make jewelry, metalsmithing to be exact. During quarantine, I began to explore YouTube videos on the subject. I have been having a blast learning, and there is still so much I want to discover about this medium!
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