This list includes women who are part of the Girls That Create Creator Spotlight series. It features visual artists creating on their own terms, from muralist ZuZu Perkal to the creative alchemist, artist, storyteller, writer, and facilitator Sarah Greenman.
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The arts have always been a part of Greenman. This painter, playwright, and activist spent hours with her maternal grandmother, a watercolorist in a small attic studio as a child. Her grandfather built the sacred room because he knew it was important for his wife to have her own space. That tradition has continued, with Greenman now having a studio behind her own home in Oregon. Its name is “The Little Shed That Could.”
It was not until college that Prusa realized creating art made her feel fully engaged. A native of Chicago, Prusa had originally thought she’d pursue a science career. However, that first drawing class at the University of Illinois (coupled with its teacher’s support) put her on the path to becoming an artist. Today, Prusa utilizes the silverpoint method for much of her internationally known work while also teaching painting as a Professor of Art at Florida Atlantic University.
Three decades ago, Las Vegan Bavington started her business Art Classes for Kids. The company has inspired generations of young artists to hone their creativity and embrace a lifelong love for the arts. Bavington knows thinking freely is where kids’ minds intuitively roam, and she’s all about providing an environment for that magic. In 2020 she kicked off a new business venture, ART CAMP IN A BOX.
Dr. Valerie Gillespie
Gillespie is Director of Visual and Performing Arts at The Winston School of Dallas. Recently, she exhibited her 2020 “Becoming” series at College Town Renaissance Center in Arlington, The George W. Bush Presidential Center, and at Msanii HOUS Fine Art in Carrollton. Dr. Gillespie and her husband, Emmanuel Gillespie, offer art instruction and mindfulness classes for kids at Pencil on Paper Gallery. The gallery also hosts exhibitions.
Bestselling author and illustrator Allan put out the perfect book for 2020. Titled You’re Strong, Smart, and You Got This: Drawings, Affirmations, and Comfort to Help with Anxiety and Depression, the work blends sunshine drawings and powerful words. The book not only provides a supportive voice for readers when they’re overwhelmed, but it is also a gentle reminder we should treat ourselves with more kindness.
Morales LOVES the color yellow. The musician, graphic designer, and illustrator made this evident with her “Immersed In Song” design for KXT 91.7, a non-commercial radio station in North Texas. Morales strongly believes in the healing power of creating. For her, the spring 2020 lockdown was used to make artwork that propels a sense of energy and optimism.
Christine Anne Nightingale
Images, not words, are how artist Nightingale learned to express herself. Born in Santiago, Chile, Nightingale moved with her family to the United States at age 14. Her mother, uncle, and paternal grandmother were all painters. Throughout high school, she continued pursuing an interest in painting.
Sheila “She” Keene
Growing up, mixed-media artist Keene noticed a lack of women leaders in her small town. She did not see female CEOs, politicians, or business owners. A young girl was expected to graduate from high school, marry, start a family, or go to college to study nursing or teaching. Years later, this void would inspire Keene to launch A Girl Like Me. Through the platform, she sells mixed-media art that encourages young girls and teens to pursue their dreams and break barriers.
Baily is a Mexican-American visual artist who draws inspiration from El Paso, Texas. Her grandmother’s wild cactus-covered backyard is where she has always felt safe. The stars above Texas, the border landscape, and past exchanges with her family are the memories she incorporates into her work. For Baily, painting is about expressing herself to an audience through the lens of culture and identity.
Perkal first arrived in Austin to pursue an advertising degree at the University of Texas. After graduation, Perkal spent several years working at various creative agencies and organizations before realizing her dream of becoming a full-time visual artist and muralist. She is also a yoga instructor and serves on the Board of Directors for HOPE Campaign, a nonprofit organization supporting visual artists and musicians through community programming and projects.
Creator Spotlight features interviews with artistic women/girls and showcases their work. If you know an artist you’d like to see spotlighted, email Erin at erin(at)girlsthatcreate(dot)com.
Top photo by Cristian Dina from Pexels