5 years ago I asked you to notice, and you did. You noticed an artist who possessed a lofty idea of spreading the powerful message of a girls worth. The idea to create 50 murals in 50 states in charcoal that would fade off the wall sending the message, if you left a girl unnoticed her value and self worth would fade away, just as the mural did.
Originally the project was to last 3 years, and during those initial years I had the empowering and uplifting support of Elizabeth Sanjuan, who traveled with me not only as the project’s photographer but as a friend who cracked the whip and made sure I stayed focused on my goals. Without Elizabeth and the support of her husband Ken Brown and Sharon Lane from Gallery 2014 in Hollywood, Fl. Girl Noticed may have never found its wings, and for that I have the utmost gratitude.
Of course anyone who has ever set out on an endeavor, especially one that is even bigger than themselves, knows that along the way things change, evolve, and often turn into something beyond what you ever could have imagined.
Girl Noticed did just that. With each state I visited, 15 to date, I discovered the possibilities that were bursting to be developed out of this project. Workshops, lectures, scholarships, communities coming together and holding public events to empower their girls were all created from an original yet simple idea of using art to spread a message. I became aware of the impact that could be made through the testimonies of girls and women who would pass by as I created the murals. Stories of how they often felt unnoticed and the empowering and inspiring message a mural would leave on their community. Stories of how they were witnessing the creation of something they never thought possible. I met powerful women already working tirelessly in their community for their community. Their only reward was knowing they might make a difference in the lives of others. By the way ladies, you’ve made a difference in mine.
Just a few pictured above, but the list of what these particular women do in their communities and beyond can not be contained in a caption. Truly inspiring.
There have been 35 murals created so far and each mural event has become more impactful. For example: The last mural created in Jackson, Mississippi was made possible by the Greater Jackson Arts Council. A local poet and civil rights Activist Margaret Walker Alexander and a silhouette of a girl reading, representing the girls who passed through the entrance of the school each day, were drawn larger than life on the exterior of Hardy Middle School. In what was considered an underserved community local officials and community leaders gathered to hold workshops for the female students and also held a beautiful mural unveiling that celebrated not only Miss Walker but the entire school and community. The Margaret Walker Alexander Foundation gave the girls journals with the promise of teaching them how to journal and creating an area by the mural for them to gather and hold a journaling club. Something that had never existed before at this school. Not only the girls but a community who typically would appear to go unnoticed were shown how valued they actually are. I know that if the perspective of just one girl was altered on what her future could hold, my job was done, and done well.
So many of you have been following and supporting since year 1 and yes this is year 5, well past the 3 year mark. But how do you stop something that keeps growing and becoming more with each experience? You don’t. You set even loftier goals and you begin to believe anything is possible. This year I hope to create murals in three more states. I have begun the process of launching a local endeavor recognizing and hearing the voices of the surviving women of the Holocaust that live in my own community. I’d like to take the project outside of the United States.
Your help has gotten me this far, and I thank you. Here’s to an empowering and inspiring year ahead.