Art of Being a Girl: Carriage Barn exhibition celebrates the essence of female power

Soar by Kelsey Gilman

LiveGirl, in partnership with the Carriage Barn Arts Center in New Canaan, will present its second annual art exhibition celebrating the essence of female power in “Art of Being a Girl,” which is on view at the center May 16-26. In conjunction with the art exhibit, two community events will also be offered: a benefit showcase featuring music by Sariah, spoken word and other performers on May 19 and on May 23, best-selling author Rachel Simmons will lead a parent-daughter workshop.

The exhibit features artwork by 58 artists, including New Orleans-based pop artist Ashley Longshore, who is donating an artwork to be sold to benefit LiveGirl, and contemporary artist Michele Voigt of Greenwich. More than 100 pieces of wall art will be shown.

“We are thrilled to return to the Carriage Barn to celebrate girls and women. The funds we raise from this event support our girl empowerment program, including camps, mentorships, and more,” LiveGirl founder and CEO Sheri West said. “This is just a very compelling art exhibit with artwork in all different mediums celebrating female power.”

“We are thrilled to partner with LiveGirl and to feature so many talented and emerging artists in support of LiveGirl’s work to empower and prepare the next generation of leaders,” said Hilary Wittman, executive director of the Carriage Barn Arts Center.

I AM: Where My Soul Needs To Be by Christa Forrest.

Representing a variety of artists, mediums and viewpoints, “Art of Being a Girl” ranges from the traditional to the contemporary, including collages, but the overarching trend here is a diversity of voices and expression, all centered on the theme of female power.

“As a woman, activist, mother and artist — this exhibition is important and personal,” Voigt said. “I believe this exhibit is a groundbreaking celebration of female empowerment and I am thrilled to support LiveGirl and their innovative leadership programs. Women have never been treated equally in the art world, and today, we remain underrepresented and undervalued in museums, galleries, and auction houses. Women artists offer society a different dialogue and perspective; a voice commanding consideration. This is changing, thanks to organizations like LiveGirl that are empowering girls and preparing them for leadership.”

The nonprofit LiveGirl offers a year-round leadership development program and mentoring for girls in grades 5-12 to build confident leaders of tomorrow, instilling in them key messages of “I am smart, I am strong, I am special” to build self-esteem and social emotional intelligence while fostering diversity. “We work with middle school girls and we teach them how to lead themselves and as they transition to high school, we give high school girls the opportunity to lead others. The end result of this are girls who have the leadership skills to thrive and make a positive impact on the world.”

Lady from a Distance by Carina Imbrogno will be on display at the exhibit.

West added, “So, really the celebration of ‘Art of Being a Girl,’ is that there is no one way to be a girl, there is no box to being a girl and that’s part of what we are trying to show our girls is that anything is possible for them.”

Voigt selected three works for the show, one of which she will complete live during the May 19 showcase event. Interpreting the exhibition’s theme, she said, “I paint stories of the human experience. My work exposes the unforeseen beauty in life’s challenges,” she said. “Most of my paintings are of women and their realities as they convey the greater human experience. Each of the paintings [in the exhibition] offer a unique vision of hope and beauty.”

The May 19 benefit features music by Sariah (featured on Billboard’s dance chart) and Hope in Harmony; spoken word by best-selling poet Cheyenne Taylor Jacobs; and Voigt completing her painting.Victoria Iparraguirre and Kate Reeves, LiveGirl mentors, will also perform. Tickets for the event are $25 and benefit LiveGirl’s free programming.

On May 23, LiveGirl and the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund will present the “Enough As She Is” parent-daughter workshop with Rachel Simmons, a New York Times best-selling author of “Enough As She Is,” “Odd Girl Out,” and “The Curse of the Good Girl.” General admission to this event is free.VIP reception tickets are $50.

For more information or to register for the programs, go to LiveGirl.org/arts-showcase.