10 Female Artists Who Have Shaped Art History

ALMA THOMAS (featured)

Washington, D.C. artist Alma Thomas is at work in her studio in this photograph taken by her friend Ida Jervis.


Thomas debuted her abstract work in an exhibition at Howard 1966, at the age of 75. Thomas’ abstractions have been compared with Byzantine mosaics, the Pointillist technique of Georges Seurat, and the paintings of the Washington Color School, yet her work is quite distinctive.

Thomas became an important role model for women, African Americans, and older artists. She was the first African American woman to have a solo exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and she exhibited her paintings at the White House three times.


Alma Thomas, Snoopy Sees Earth Wrapped in Sunset, 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1978.40.4

10 Female Artists Who Have Shaped Art History

Artemisia Gentileschi (1593–c. 1652) is the most celebrated female painter of the 17th century.https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/artists/artemisia-gentileschi

Angelica Kauffman (1741–1807) made a significant impact on the 18th-century London art scene, becoming one of only two female Founder Members of the Royal Academy. https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/art-artists/name/angelica-kauffman-ra

Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) at 15 was painting the aristocracy, in her 20s she was the favoured painter of Marie-Antoinette, and by her 30s she was fleeing the French Revolution. https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/international-womens-day-elisabeth-louise-vigee-le-brun

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954)considered one of Mexico’s greatest artists, she is know for her many self portraits. Kahlo is viewed by many as an icon of female creativity.https://www.fridakahlo.org

Mary Cassatt (1844–1926) was one of the first and few women to join the French Impressionist movement of the late 19th century. Cassatt is credited for bringing this movement to the United States. While many Impressionists painted landscapes, Cassatt did portraits of women and children often portraying the bonds between mothers and children. Her goal was to portray women’s lives in a truthful, un-romanticized way. https://www.marycassatt.org

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986) for seven decades, was a major figure in American art. Remarkably, she remained independent from shifting art trends and stayed true to her own vision, which was based on finding the essential, abstract forms in nature. ps://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/geok/hd_geok.htm

Alma Thomas (1891–1978) was the first Black woman to have a show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She was also the first Black woman to have work acquired by the White House. Her life was distinctive in other ways, too. As an artist and world traveler who never married or had children, she circumvented society’s expectations for Black women born in the 19th century. https://www.womenshistory.org/education-resources/

Lee Krasner (1908–1984) was a force of nature, always pushing abstraction forward. A pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, she was also one of the key crusaders for Jackson Pollock’s legacy. https://www.moma.org/artists/3240

Helen Frankenthaler (1928-2011)an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/helen-frankenthaler-1114

Yayoi Kusama (1929-) is a Japanese painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and performer, famously provocative avant-garde artist, best known for her works featuring repeating motifs and psychedelic imagery that evoke themes of psychology, feminism, obsession, sex, creation, destruction, and intense self-reflection. https://www.artnet.com/artists/yayoi-kusama/


When six teenage girls, most who have never met each other, are asked to work separately but together…who knew what the result would be?

At the end of this summer Girl Noticed hosted a series of free virtual workshops. I was thrilled that teenagers from across the country would participate. We’d talk about their strengths, goal setting and breaking goals into smaller tasks to achieve success. One workshop offered girls the opportunity to learn about creating murals. We’d discuss materials, preparation and how to scale their drawings. They would learn that scaling murals, just like our goals, consists of breaking an end goal down into smaller pieces. Focusing on that smaller piece, getting it done, but always keeping the intention of the end goal in mind.

Now I asked the girls to be brave. Somewhat blindly they would be asked to create part of a larger artwork at home. Six girls took the challenge and were mailed a concept drawing, pencil, canvases, paint, brushes and a self addressed stamped envelope to mail their creations back to Girl Noticed. They were encouraged to use their creativity but to keep in mind their section would have to match up with the others for the final piece to make sense. They would use what they learned in the workshop to make that happen. I’m so proud and excited by the end result.

Our artists are:

Gaby Lama, Age 15 from Aventura, FL

Lily Mitchell, Age 14 from Cooper City, Florida

Lucia Williams, Age 13 from Hollywood, FL

Olsmael Merisier, Age 17 from the Bronx, NY

Raegan Zalman, Age 13 from Hollywood, FL

Yana Danzig, Age 15 from Davie, FL

“The Nonprofit Legacy”

“If you have a heart for serving others, you are a community leader or want to establish a nonprofit, this tool is for you.” …Shero Publishing

Girl Noticed founder Lori Pratico co-authors her first book aimed at helping others to turn their ideas into reality.

On October 6th, SHERO Publishing and fourteen authors proudly announced the launch and pre-sale of their new book “THE NONPROFIT LEGACY”. This book gathers the expertise of fourteen diverse female Nonprofit Executives as they open their hearts and “tell all”, about their journeys to developing a nonprofit.

Lori Pratico was invited by visionary Tajala Battle Lockhart to share her story about how she turned from artist to art activist literally overnight. Girl Noticed creator, Lori Pratico along with her co-authors reveal what led them to start their Nonprofits and what keeps them moving forward even when times are hard. Ironically written during a pandemic the book shares valuable resources to building your own legacy, like gaining grants, obtaining sponsorship, building a board, recruiting volunteers, and overcoming roadblocks…just a few of the topics covered.

“The Nonprofit Legacy” will inspire and empower you, so don’t wait Pre-Order your signed 1st Edition today!

The Nonprofit Legacy

Pre-order your signed 1st edition now. Books ship 1st week of November. All taxes, shipping and handling are included.

24.99 $

100 years, but is it really time to celebrate?

(L-R) Ida B. Wells, Mary Church Terrell, Adella Hunt Logan

Although today marks the 100 year anniversary of the 19th Amendment, let’s not forget that it took 45 more years and the passing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 for Jim Crow laws, discrimination and the repression of women to even begin to loosen it’s grip. Black women, Native American women and Chinese immigrants were not granted voting rights 100 years ago, and to this day still are fighting to have their voices truly heard. I was not taught in school about the multitude of women like Ida B Wells* and Mary Church Terrell** who fought for the voting rights of every woman. I was not taught about Adella Hunt Logan, a mixed race woman who identified as African American but who was light skinned enough to pass as white so she gained access to many suffrage associations and meetings that she would have not had access to otherwise. Risking her own life posing as white in conservative Alabama, Logan emphasized through her writing the importance of the vote for all women, but especially to black women, saying, “they need the vote and the vote needs them.” 

100 years later women are still fighting for equality, equity, and against racism and sexism. Women are still fighting to be noticed. We can not glaze over our history for it leads to complacency. I am approached often and told it’s different now. There are women who will look at the fact that Kamala Harris is a Vice Presidential candidate and think the above words and issues do not apply anymore. You are wrong and I invite you to think about the Martin Luther King words below, because if even one woman is discriminated against it affects us all.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Dr. Martin Luther King.

Whatever you know, whatever you believe, whatever you fight for, make sure you get out and vote. Exercise the right that others fought for you to have. Celebrate that.

* Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was an American investigative journalist, educator, and an early leader in the civil rights movement. She was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Wikipedia

**Mary Church Terrell was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and suffrage. She taught in the Latin Department at the M Street school —the first African American public high school in the nation—in Washington, DC. Wikipedia

“Together” can often feel lonely.

If I’m going to paint 110′ murals that spell out in 12 1/2′ letters “TOGETHER”, then my everyday actions should support the theory that “together” we overcome and move forward. 110′ is BIG, but I believe it is the small everyday things that truly make a difference.

I’d like to share with you an article I came across this morning about depression. I have had my own bouts with depression, mostly before menopause, as I now realize those bouts often came to visit as regularly as my monthly cycle. My solution was often to open a bottle of wine and just chill, find quiet time for myself. For awhile that helped, until it didn’t. A glass of wine or two, or three wasn’t quite enough and turned into a bottle or two, which then turned into vodka on ice, don’t bother with the soda or juice. Now I was depressed and had a headache to go along with it. By the grace of god I made a decision to stop drinking, and lo and behold was informed alcohol is actually a depressant! I don’t remember the surgeon general telling me that? Today I am so thankful to not feel such low lows on such a regular basis. I attribute the change to my “change”, literally my hormones, abstaining from alcohol, personal work and growth, and a little help from my friends, but I can see that when depression did visit me, I had very little control of when it would come, or how I would entertain it. Had it visited me during a pandemic… well, I don’t even want to think about that.

What would we do without friends?

I saw it as my personal responsibility to share the following article. Being someone who can relate to feeling depressed and empathize with others, I am often left not knowing the right thing to do or say when faced with someone I care about who is suffering. I found this article informative and helpful. I hope you will too. We are in this together.

“Revealing Your Depression Didn’t Go Well”

Someone close to you has depression. Here’s how be an ally.

read article here: https://link.medium.com/fOHWwSsNn8

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Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Accepting you are racist. Step 1

I grew up in the city of Philadelphia at a time when schools were just beginning to be segregated. This meant the black children were actually counted in each classroom making sure a certain number was met. White was certainly still the majority but kids bussed from other neighborhoods were literally sprinkled into each classroom. Philadelphia also had a large Catholic population and often you would refer to your neighborhood as “the parish” you lived in. The majority of those Catholic families pulled their kids out of public schools by the third grade and sent them to a “good” Catholic school where it was assumed they would learn better and be safer. There were some of course who sincerely wanted religion to be part of their child’s upbringing, but for many they’d only show up to church on the obligatory Christmas and Easter. 

It was during those informative school years that I’ve often pointed to moments that made me think of myself as “not racist”. For example, my first childhood crush was on a little black boy named Derick. I would write “I love Derick”, all over my school books. I can remember my mom discouraged this and would tell me not to tell people I liked him. At the time I thought it was because I was too young to have a boyfriend, but a few years later, when I was still too young and my crush turned to a little white boy, it suddenly became ok to speak about it. I knew the difference. I saw the prejudice and it upset me.

Moving on to middle school I discovered my love for basketball. I was recruited to the schools team and was a starting forward. I was a huge Philadelphia 76ers fan and Julius Erving was my favorite player. Bobby Jones a star power forward on the 76ers at the time was the only white starter on the team and since I was the only white girl on my school’s team, my nickname quickly became Bobby Jones. When I would make a shot from outside the three point line or drive to the basket and make a layup the whole gymnasium would shout, “Bobby Joooooones…” I remember wishing they’d yell, “Errrrrving.” Erving was so cool, and Jones in my eyes was a tall, goofy looking white man. Race riots were common in our school, and many times we were on the local 6:00 news because of them. They were serious, kids bringing knives, making bomb threats. I never remember feeling unsafe because the black kids “liked me”. They had my back, since I was on the team and all. 

Through my middle school and high school years many of my closest friends were black. I thought later in my life that we related in a way that I didn’t with many of the white kids. I had always felt like nothing was expected of my life. College wasn’t necessary according to my family, art was a hobby and nice, just go get a respectable job, a respectable young lady would do. Keep your head down and stay out of trouble. Don’t bring attention to yourself. Get married and have kids. I thought my black friends’ parents didn’t expect better for them either and probably sent them the same messages. That was a generalization I would later regret. Who the hell was I to assume what their families wanted for them?

My senior year of high school I was being scouted by many colleges. Neither one of my parents had ever seen me play a basketball game. I was team captain and had been offered several partial scholarships and two full rides. One was to Kentucky State and the other to Cheyney University in Pennsylvania (which was originally called the Institute for Colored Youth). I believed wholeheartedly that the recruiters from Cheyney only wanted me at their school because I was white. They were now being forced into having their own status quo and with my good grades and decent jump shot I fit the bill. I remember thinking, that’s clearly why they want me, because their scouts just sat in the bleachers and saw two of my black teammates play so much better than me, why are they not even asking about them? I wouldn’t even consider going to Cheyney, not because I would have been part of the 1% white population attending, but based on a matter of principal that it just wasn’t fair. I wouldn’t end up going to Kentucky either. My parents would later tell me they never sent the required paperwork in, and they would not allow me to go to college to play basketball. 

Fast forward to today and I’ve created this project Girl Noticed. I do murals in many underserved, marginalized communities. My artwork has celebrated many black women and young girls, and somehow through all these years I thought because of the list of events I just described about my youth all of this made me “not racist”. 

I was wrong. 

I realize now that I have recounted these and other events many times out-loud and in my head as making me different or somehow special as a white person. Singling myself out as “better than” other whites. If you are black and reading this I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Privileged white people insisting it is not me but them. I am different. But am I? Are you? I am privileged based solely on the color of my skin every single day. I have seen racism over and over again only to say “that’s not me”. The passiveness of saying not me, of saying I am disgusted by others racist actions, but then sitting back and waiting for the problems to go away on their own does not make me an exception but a bigger part of the problem. Even accepting that some racism will never go away makes me complacent.

It’s time to stop talking, stop explaining, stop exceptionalizing, and start listening. It’s time to accept you are racist and so am I. Then and only then, will we move towards Step 2. Consider the fact, you don’t even know what step two is. You haven’t the slightest clue, neither do I. How about we shut up and listen to what it needs to be.

“Shallow understating from people of goodwill is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Luke warm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” … Dr. Martin Luther King

ENUFF… shouldn’t it be spelled that way?

I guess however you spell it the notion of not being enough has been like a sharp piece of glass I stepped on when I was about seven years old and for the next forty five years have had stuck in my foot. Some days if you were to watch me go through life you’d see me hopping, completely avoiding the glass, but tired from the energy it takes to hop around life on one foot. Other days you’d see me almost stomping, stepping down hard, the glass pushing deeper into my foot and the pain radiating throughout my whole body as I wince with each step. Most days you’d see me just walking gingerly being careful not to step on the exact spot where it’s the most painful. Those are the days I’m “dealing with it”, or is that avoiding too? Why has it never crossed my mind to stop walking and get the glass out of my foot?

My long walk towards seeing who I am..

I’m seven and it’s an ordinary day where my mother is telling me to sit like a lady. My body doesn’t seem to naturally do that, and I can’t understand why my knees must be pressed together at all times. It’s uncomfortable. “Stand up straight” and “Lori not so loud”, would also be daily mantra’s coming from the lips of my mother’s annoyed face that often read why do I have to tell you again? Although however annoyed she appeared to be at having to continuously repeat herself, shushing my sometimes loud and excited voice and telling me how to sit, stand and walk was her attempt to raise me as what she perceived was an exceptional young lady. In her world it was her job as my mother, her duty to teach me these things. Otherwise society would never accept me and I could never be happy. I would certainly suffer if I grew up to become a hunched over, loud mouthed, knees apart woman! My mother loved me, she still loves me and she still shushes me now and then which drives me instantly insane.

These stories of our childhood become the stories we use to describe ourselves. As we grow and mature we strengthen these stories with what we call “facts” so we can reinforce, so we can prove what we already believe about ourselves. The “I Am” of who we are. Now if you know me, you might be saying, Lori you had some pretty traumatic things happen to you in your life that must have defined how you thought about yourself. Actually, those were the things that reinforced how I felt about myself. The “I AM” was already there.

My mother wanting me to be what she thought was acceptable, me repeatedly hearing her correct the way my body naturally held itself made me feel like I would never be what she wanted. I was not like the other girls she saw as perfect. I was not enough and yes I have spent my whole life reinforcing that belief, stepping on the glass pushing it deeper into my foot. I even created this non-profit Girl Noticed to show other girls we can walk standing proud without the pain of glass in our feet. It’s this project actually, the self reflection, the eagerness to learn more about myself and the teaching others what I thought I already knew that has helped me to slowly and gently start pulling the glass out of my tired feet. I’ve realized the many pieces of glass my own mother walked on in fear of what the neighbors or my grandmother or her friends would think about her if I wasn’t “the perfect young lady”, because that would make her not the perfect mom. I grow to realize that she had her own struggles and beliefs about not being good enough, not just as a mom, but probably as a wife and woman in general. To my own horror I see how we hand these beliefs down from generation to generation like we would family recipes, all of the secret ingredients held tight to our chests. I can only hope I haven’t passed this particular recipe down to my own daughter or son, but as I sit writing this I can already think of some of the ways that I have. I can imagine they have their own stories they tell themselves where I’m not even aware of the character I have played. Grace, Gianni, permission to tell me to knock it off when I’m passing my own insecurities onto you. It’s about time I take responsibility for how I see me. Its my story after all and rewriting it, retelling it, is my option. I believe it’s the way to becoming enough. What stories have you told yourself? Are you ready to pull out the glass?


Irene Zisblatt, Holocaust Survivor

Holocaust survivor Irene Zisblatt is an authority in the field of hope. “We have to find a way, we have to try,” she says. We have to use our words to spread hope. “There is no room for hate.”

When she was just 13 years old, Irene Zisblatt, along with her siblings and parents were taken on trains to Auschwitz-Birkenau. “I am a child survivor of a man’s hatred, I am the only survivor of my family,” Zisblatt told me as she lowered her eyes and described to me the details of being separated from her mother. Irene and I sat in a cafeteria style booth just outside the gym of the David Posnack Jewish Community Center (JCC). She had just finished her daily workout and had greeted me with a smile like we had known eachother our whole lives. She told me story after story of the horrors of being a young girl alone in the concentration camps. She told me of the glimmers of hope she received from a young boy with a violin, and a friend with whom she didn’t have to speak any words. A girl a few years older than her whose connection would get them through each horrifying day. Her friend’s name was Sebka, and with tears in her eyes, Irene would tell me how Sebka would not get to live her life on this earth but instead would experience her freedom in heaven. She lost her life the day of liberation from illness.

For 50 years after being liberated from the camps Irene did not speak of the Holocaust. She knew no one would have listened or believed a child. When the movie “Schindler’s List” came out in 1994, she realized she had to begin talking about her experiences. There were lessons for humanity in each of her stories. At 90 years old Irene tells her story for Sebka, she tells her story to youth hoping that future generations will learn from it. It was an absolute honor to be on the receiving end of her words. We would meet again another day after another workout. She would have the same smile and heart full of hope waiting for me.

As I worked on her portrait watching the world day by day react to a deadly virus, financial crisis, protestors with guns, and families bickering with each other over their differing opinions, I’m sad knowing Irene can’t go to the gym, or speak to the many people eager to listen. I put my hand on the half painted canvas, closed my eyes and heard the words of this wise, wise woman…

“We have to find a way, we have to try.” “There is no room for hate.”

I have been so fortunate to have experienced extraordinary moments of love over the past few weeks. I am reminded of what Irene told me during our talks. The message of hope she and her friend Sebka spread throughout the camps was; This is temporary, the world is beautiful, life is beautiful, just hang on so you can live and experience it. If she could have that kind of hope then, surely we can have it now.

Inspiration for this portrait was taken from the moments Irene Zisblatt was sharing her stories with artist Lori Pratico.

To read more about Girl Noticed’s Holocaust Project or make a donation visit our page: “A People Forgot”

To nominate a survivor visit our nomination page: Nominate

“Love each other, forget about hate.”

Adele Besserman, Holocaust Survivor

“Telling”, Portrait Of A Survivor

Adele Besserman and I sat together for hours. Over a cup of tea and cookies, she told me the stories of her life.

I am a stranger to Adele, having met with her only once before, we had lunch so she could “get to know me” and I her. Her generosity in sharing her experiences with me filled my heart as I could see as long as I was willing to listen, she was willing to tell. She would tell me of her childhood in Poland. Just 9 years old she would tell me of how one night her father disappeared, she knew he was soldier. How along with her mother and sister they fled to her grandmothers house which would later become the ghetto. How eventually she ran and hid in the forest until being liberated.

Her story is one of perseverance, courage and the will to survive at an age where she had little understanding of what was actually happening. After her family was liberated, she would tell me of the struggles of moving from place to place, of not having a home to go back to. She would tell me how she discovered her love of dance and would grow into a young independent woman.

“Love each other, forget about hate.” words she would say with a sort of knowing. Knowing it really is that simple. Why don’t we get it?

We would look through photos and she would share both sad and happy memories. She would pull me in and make me no longer a stranger.

Inspiration was taken from the moments Adele Besserman was sharing her stories with artist Lori Pratico.

Adele Besserman was nominated to be noticed by Blake Starr.

If not now, then when? If not I, then who?

Although these words are not a direct quote from Adele Besserman, they are the words she lives by. “If not I then Who?” she would say to me as we talked. Adele shares her story often with teens and takes part in the March of the Living each year so youth can experience her story first hand. Adele celebrated her 90th birthday on March 24, 2020 and lives in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

To read more about Girl Noticed’s Holocaust Project or make a donation visit our page: “A People Forgot”

To nominate a survivor visit our nomination page: Nominate