Power Up For Parity With Armor Art, Take The Lead On Seneca Falls Anniversary
Artist Linda Stein wants you to keep your hands on her art.
Sculptor, activist, educator, performer, writer and founding president of Have Art: Will Travel!,Stein is collaborating with Take The Lead July 18 for a powerful fundraising event, “Carry The Spirit of Seneca Falls: Gender Parity in 2018 and Beyond,” at her studio in New York.
The innovative July 18 event in Stein’s New York studio from 6-8 p.m. is an opportunity to support Take The Lead and its upcoming 50 Women Can Change The World initiatives, including cohorts in finance. (You can purchase tickets here with a donation of $100 to $5,000.
On the eve of the 170th anniversary of the first convention of American women’s rights activists culminating in the “Declaration of Sentiments,” a document demanding equal social and legal status and voting rights for women, the fundraising event will have participants interact with Stein’s art. This includes the life-size Knights of Armor pieces made from wood, metal, stone, paper and a combination of materials.
According to Stein’s studio materials, this is “a chance to be brave, an opportunity to dare. The experience of not only touching, but wearing her sculptures, allows the mind to take on another persona, to switch genders, to dance or move in a way unlikely without the protection of Stein’s body armor.”
Attaching the armor with Velcro straps, “Here is a way art can inspire conversation and change behaviors,” says Stein, whose art for the past four decades has dealt with images of gender justice.
Artist Linda Stein (far left) wants you to interact with her sculptures at the July 18 Take The Lead event.
Stein’s artistic mission intersects with the work of Take The Lead and its co-founder and president Gloria Feldt, whose mission is to reach gender parity in leadership across all sectors by 2025. Feldt created the 9 Leadership Power Tools and advises leaders at all levels of their career paths on their personal “power journeys.”
“Linda Stein’s powerful artistic metaphors exemplify what I call women’s own ‘power TO’ lead with confidence, authenticity, intention, and joy. That’s the heart of what Take The Lead teaches and the reason our 50 Women Can Change the World programs are so effective in giving women breakthroughs to leadership parity,” says Feldt.
The 50 Women Can Change The World programs, which Take The Lead delivers in a diverse variety of sectors, is Take The Lead’s signature initiative in service of the mission of working towards a fairer and more just world, where #MeToo need be uttered no more, and every woman and man can reach her or his full potential. The Take The Lead summits convene women in cohorts to accelerate their leadership, mentorship and professional growth capabilities.
“We believe in building a powerful network of leaders to fuel one another in our constantly evolving economy and professional ecosystems. To date, we have convened leadership summits in business verticals including: non-profit organizations, media and entertainment, and women in healthcare,” says Feldt.
On the eve of the anniversary of the Seneca Falls convention, this event will showcase the power to collaborate to change the world and achieve gender parity in power, position and compensation by 2025. In addition to Feldt and Stein serving as hosts, the host committee includes Loreen Arbus, Alyssa Bernstein, Barbara Dobkin, Patti Kenner, Loretta McCarthy, Nancy O’Reilly, Janet Ricco and Jordan Stein.
“I use my art to start conversations about gender justice, with an emphasis on power/vulnerability, masculinity/femininity, and bullying/protection of the ‘other,’”says Stein, one of the 2018 “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by WomenseNews, and creator of The Fluidity of Gender exhibit collection and Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females – Tapestries and Sculpture.
These are two traveling exhibitions with lectures, workshops and interactive educational programs developed by a national Curricular Team of scholars in collaboration with Penn State University. The Fluidity of Gender exhibit has been traveling since 2010, and Holocaust Heroes launched in 2015. By 2020, they will have gone to more than 45 museums, universities and institutions within the United States and abroad, according to Stein.
“I want people to think of themselves as upstanders who come to the protection of some and are able to empathize,” Stein says. “My non-profit’s mission to empower women and inspire upstander behavior overlaps with and complements the mission of Take the Lead,” Stein says. “Art can help start conversations about gender.”
Feldt agrees. “Gender parity in leadership requires sharing power. That in turn is the most effective way to eliminate sexual harassment and abuse, so no one has to say #MeToo. I’m excited to host this event on the eve of the 170th anniversary of first women’s rights convention in the US. Women had to be extremely brave then to declare publicly that they deserved equality.”
She adds, “Can we be any less courageous today as we strive to finish their work by taking our fair and equal place in leadership across all sectors of society?”
Stein’s artist’s statement reads: “I realized I was creating visual and visceral symbols of protection, androgynous sentinel-like figures to stand guard against the foe. I gradually incorporated a family of pop culture and religious icons (Wonder Women, Princess Mononoke, Lady Gaga) that could start conversations about issues of power and vulnerability.”
In 2016, Linda Stein edited the book Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females, including a foreword by Gloria Steinem and essays by notable international scholars and intimates of her 10 selected Heroes. Also in 2016, Stein’s autobiographical essay, cover design and multi-series art images served as a bridge between two poets for Laura Hinton’s 2016 Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero.
The New York City Art Teachers Association/UFT has honored Stein with their 2017 Artist of the Year award. She was honored with the 2016 Artist of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Artists for her “Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.” Stein’s art archives are at Smith College and the Linda Stein Feminist Art Education Collection will be housed at Penn State University.
At the July 18 Take The Lead event commemorating the anniversary of the women’s rights activists convention at Seneca Falls, New York, Stein will “explain her art while encouraging you to feel the textural surfaces by placing these torsos upon your shoulders.”