The SheArt Network
by Katie O’Sullivan
Art can often be a lonely pursuit, the artists isolated in their own vision and creativity. A few years ago, Orleans resident Michele Preston imagined a network to connect women artists and artisans with each other. Thus was born the SheArt Network.
Up a hillside on Tonset Road, in Orleans, sits a recently restored 1850s Greek Revival home. Its solid presence and white façade belie the rainbow of creativity found within. Warm and spicy smells waft out of the kitchen area as the sounds of laughter and women eager to talk about their displays fill the air. Hugs of greeting are exchanged along with business cards.
Welcome to the SheArt Network. “The only rules right now,” explains founder Michele Preston, “Is that there are no rules. We’re an inclusive group and don’t have a lot of structural hierarchy yet.”What they do have is an abundance of artistic talent, and an open policy for membership.
SheArtists Sally Kane & Kim Possee
Michele’s goal is to help empower women through creativity. Open studio sessions are held at various scheduled locations to allow women to work on their creations and help each other with group projects.
Michele defines SheArt as “any product representing a woman's creative expression.” In their second annual “May Day” Artisan Boutique, the broad nature of this definition was on full display throughout the historic home.
Jewelry made with beach glass nestled near homespun clothing and handmade fleece dog toys. Brightly colored handbags hung near pastel artwork and an elegant display of necklaces and earrings fashioned from recycled antique Venetian beads. A non-juried event, the boutique gave women a place to display and sell their creations while connecting with other Cape artists and artisans.
Something similar can be ascribed to her new network, helping women find ways to earn a living with their art. “We have networking opportunities for these women to learn from each other. Things like how to set up a display, how to price their items, and how to find venues around the Cape to sell their wares,” Michele explains.
The thirty current members range in age from late teens into their nineties.
The non-profit SheArt Network is now working toward providing a permanent place for women to meet and develop their arts in a supportive atmosphere. “Our long-range goal,” says Michele, “is to find a benefactor who’ll help us develop a permanent location, a store-front place, where we can offer workshops and a boutique.”
Return to the Summer '9 Creative Women page
Lampshades handcrafted from various textured material made by the SheArt Network founder Michele Preston.
SheArt Network Events
Holiday Boutique December 5-6
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