CALL FOR ARTISTS, STORYTELLERS, AND FRIENDS…

Seeking individuals to participate in

Her Life as Art: Coming Together Through Grandmother Stories

a special community project led by the Kansas City United Church of Christ, the UMKC Women’s Center, and the Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

 

This art exhibit is central to a unique, multi-dimensional, week-long series of events. This call for artists is open to all individuals, of all skill levels who wish to celebrate the wisdom and legacy of the grandmother figures in their lives.

You may participate by:

  1. creating a 16” x 16” art quilt that tells the story of the importance of this grandmother figure in your own life, or
  2. by submitting an item created by your grandmother figure. This may be a poem, drawing, recipe, quilt, dress, apron, piece of pottery, doll, etc…(Please include a short explanation of your chosen This is an exhibit only. Artwork will not be for sale.)

This exhibit will be open to the public during the week of Saturday, November 6 – Friday, November 12, 2021 at Kansas City United Church of Christ (KCUCC), 205 West 65th St., Kansas City, MO 64113 

To Participate:

Drop off or mail your completed entry form to KCUCC (see address above) or email to: Jean Ayres, ayresjean@gmail.com before Monday, October 25

  • Bring your entry to the church Tuesday, November 2, 10:00 a.m.-12 noon.
  • Pick up your entry Saturday, November 13, 10 a.m.-12 noon.

Organizing Committee:

Jean Ayres, KCUCC

Judy Long O’Neal, KCUCC

Karen Hartzler, KCUCC

Arzie Umali, UMKC Women’s Center

Sherry Dicus, Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

Yvette Morton – Mo-Kan Heart Quilt Guild

For entry form, contact Jean Ayres, ayresjean@gmail.com

Ntozake Shange’s Choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

by Rhonda Cooksey

I just reread Ntozake Shange’s famous choreopoem and was once again transported by the 21 poems that, on stage, are performed by the ladies in brown, yellow, purple, red, green, blue, and yellow. In Shange’s introduction to the book, she explains how her poems transformed from feeling, to “solo word art,” to a multitude of staged performance pieces, and even film. She credits producer Oz Scott for the inspired idea to have her poems voiced by seven women dressed in the seven colors of the rainbow. According to Shange, “Oz had made a natural leap, physicalizing the image, giving the rainbow human form.” On stage, the stories are told in poetry, dance, and living color.

The movie version has a whopping one and a half stars from Rotten Tomatoes, but Shange considered the movie an opportunity for her work to take new form. I wish I had seen the 2019 production of the choreopoem at the Kansas City Reparatory Theater. For me, it’s not meant to be a movie drama, let alone a melodrama. The stories take on added meaning when recited and danced by a sisterhood in rainbow colored clothing. The rainbow offers hope for rainy days.

Crowd pleasing favorites include the poems “somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff” and “a nite with beau willie brown.” My personal favorite is “sechita,” originally performed by the lady in green. For Shange, it was a difficult poem to write. She points out that “Sechita is an Egyptian goddess of creativity and filth,” and says she was inspired by “the fancy girls in New Orleans who had to find some kind of work after the Civil War during Reconstruction.” Meant to represent the experiences of numerous black women past and present, the character combines “beauty with gall.”  Shange says Sechita as a black woman working the 1870s carnivals could just as easily be a black woman working strip bars on Second Avenue. Part Egyptian goddess and part whiskey-drinking carnival attraction, Sechita does what she has to in order to survive. I highly recommend the book version, but don’t miss an opportunity to see it performed on the stage. Imagine the lady in green “dancing out Sechita’s life,” or check out different versions on YouTube like this virtual reading from 2021, “The Arts on Sunday Afternoon.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQrIEnRYs7A

 

Sechita

once there were quadroon balls/elegance in st. louis/laced mulattos/gamblin down the Mississippi/to Memphis/new orleans n okra crepes near the bayou/where the poor white trash wd sing/moanin/strange/liquid tones/thru the swamps/sechita had heard these things/she moved as if she’d known them/the silver n high-toned laughin/the violins n marble floors/sechita pushed the clingin delta dust with painted toes/the patch work tent was poka-dotted/stale lights snatched at the shadows/creole carnival was playin natchez in ten minutes/her splendid red garters/gin-stained n itchy on her thigh/blk-diamond stockings darned wit yellow threads/an ol starched taffeta can-can fell abundantly orange/from her waist round the splinterin chair/sechita/Egyptian/goddess of creativity/2nd millennium/threw her heavy hair in a coil over her neck/sechita/goddess/the recording of history/spread crimson oil on her cheeks/waxed her eyebrows/n unconsciously slugged the last hard whiskey in the glass/the broken mirror she used to decorate her face/made her forehead tilt backwards/her cheeks appear sunken/her sassy chin only large enuf/to keep her full lower lip/from growin into her neck/sechita/had learned to make/ allowances for distortions/but the heavy dust of the delta/left a tinge of grit n darkness on every one of her dress/on her arms & her shoulders/sechita/waz anxious to get back to st. louis/the dirt there didn’t crawl from the earth into yr soul/at least/in st. louis/the grime was store bought second-hand/here in natchez/god seemed to be wipin his feet in her face/one of the wrestlers had finally won tonite/the mulatto/raul/was sposed to hold the/ boomin half-caste/searin eagle/in a bear hug/8 counts/get thrown unawares/fall out of the ring/n then do searin eagle in for good/sechita/cd hear redneck whoops n slappin on the back/she gathered her sparsely sequinned skirts/tugged the waist cinched from her greyin slips/n made her face immobile/she made her face like Nefertiti/approachin her own tomb/she suddenly threw/her leg full-force/thru the canvas curtain/a deceptive glass stone sparkled/malignant on her ankle/her calf waz tauntin in the brazen carnie lights/the full moon/sechita/goddess/of love/Egypt/2nd millennium/performin the rites/the conjurin of men/conjurin the spirit/in natchez/the mississippi spewed a heavy fume of barely movin waters/sechita’s legs slashed furiously thru the cracker nite/& gold pieces hittin the makeshift stage/her thighs/they were aimin coins tween her thighs/sechita/ Egypt/goddess/ harmony/ kicked viciously thru the nite/catchin stars tween her toes.

 

Shange, Ntozake. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, Scribner, 2010.

 

 

 

 

CALL FOR ARTISTS: The Personal Universe

Presented by 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics and the UMKC Women’s Center, The Personal Universe will be a competitive exhibition featuring artists who identify as women or non-binary from across the globe.

Awards:

  • First place
    A featured album on the 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics Facebook page.
  • Three Purchase awards
    The jury has arranged with personal collectors to purchase 1 piece from the exhibition.
  • A “People’s Choice” award will be given to the piece that receives the most Likes/Loves on its Facebook post.
  • Ceramics: Art & Perception subscription award for one year

Calendar:

  • January 4, 2021
    Entries accepted at 50WomenCeramics@gmail.com
  • February 12, 2021
    Entries closed
  • March 17, 2021
    Exhibition opens
  • May 11, 2021
    Solo exhibition set up.

Rules and Regulations:

  •  NO ENTRY FEE
  • All submissions are electronic and should be sent to 50WomenCeramics@gmail.com.
  • Submission will be accepted between January 4 and February 12.
  • The work must either:
    a) Be made primarily of clay.
    or
    b) Be video or performance work where clay is prominent element of the work.
  • All entries MUST include: Title of work, Date of work, Dimensions of work, Date of Work, Artist’s name, Artist Location or Academic Affiliation. While not required, artists are encouraged to include their personal website address in the entry.
  • Any person who identifies as female, gender-fluid, or non-binary can apply.
  • Two entries– including up to two images per person.
  • Submission of work will be considered a release by the artist to allow 50 Women: A Celebration of Women’s Contributions to Ceramics organizers to use images in the exhibition as well as in any publication materials. Any use of images will include the maker’s name and contact method.
    • This release extends to publication of reviews of the exhibition on blogs, tweets, and in Facebook groups.
  • For the purchase award, the maker will be responsible for any shipping fees included in the sale of the work. The purchasers live in the United States.
  • All images need to be JPEG or PNG formatted.
  • Prices will be listed in the final exhibition. If no price is given, the work will be labeled “NFS.”
    • Will list prices in local currency ($, Australian $, €, ¥, R, etc…)
  • All entries must be original works of art.
  • All entries will be reviewed at the time of submission to ensure adherence to the artwork condition rules and regulations of the exhibit.
    • Inclusion/Exclusion in the exhibit is at the sole discretion of the Jury: Ms. Alex Kraft, Ms. Melanie Shaw, and Mr. Anthony Merino.
    • All works must adhere to Facebook’s policy regarding acceptable images.
  • “People’s Choice” award will be determined by total number of image Likes / Loves.
    • Likes = 1 point
    • Loves = 2 points
    • This award is independent of any other awards.

There is no formal application, just email the images and description to 50WomenCeramics@gmail.com, with subject line “Entry for The Personal Universe.” Please attach images and include the following information:

  • Title, Date, Dimensions, Price
  • Artist’s Name
  • Artist’s Location/Professional Affiliation
  • Artist’s Country
  • Clay/Process Information (optional, please keep under 75 words)
  • Webpages and Social Media information (optional)

For more information or for questions regarding this exhibition, artwork submissions, or awards, please contact Anthony Merino at merinoanthony@outlook.com.

For more information about 50 Women a Celebration of Women’s Contribution to Ceramics, check them out on Facebook.

Looking Deeper at Our Phenomenal Feminist: Betty Dodson

By Morgan Clark

When you hear the phrase “sex-positive” do you ever think of who coined the phrase? I know I haven’t. Not until one of my team members sent me her pick for our social media campaign Phenomenal Feminist Friday. Betty Dodson was a pioneer of her time, a feminist who was a sexologist that taught women (and men) the worth of self-pleasure, as well as to embrace sex as something that is natural and healing.

Betty first started as an artist at the Art Students League of New York. There, Dodson was making erotic paintings and freelancing as an illustrator for lingerie ads. She then married an advertising executive but was soon divorced because she did not believe they were sexually compatible. At that time her artwork was not doing well in the industry. That’s when she began hosting workshops for women where she showed and told them how to please oneself.

BodySex was the name of the workshops she hosted. In these workshops’ women learned that vaginas came in different sizes, shapes and colors. Dodson believed that teaching women about their bodies, and how to navigate them, was her form of activism. Dodson said “If women could learn to pleasure themselves properly, they could end their sexual dependence on men, which would make everybody happy.”(New York Times, 2020). During this time Betty was vilified by conservative feminists. When teaching a class in Syracuse she was greeted with hissing after showing big displays of the vagina. But she continued to teach women about their bodies for several years.

In 1987 she published “Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving” which eventually became a best seller and was translated into 25 different languages. In this book she speaks about masturbation and how women should learn to view it. That it is a way to love oneself and a possible a way to heal oneself. She also writes in the book about techniques for masturbation using the instructions that she usually used in her workshops. Betty passed on Halloween this year but her works still continue to empower and educate women. BodySex will continue to be hosted several times a year via Zoom by Betty’s work partner Carlin.

Reading about Betty I know that she was very important during those times. To be that sexually liberated and free at those times took courage. I know that women were not as open about sex back in the day. Not knowing about orgasm and even about their own vaginas. I am glad that Betty was able to teach women that it’s okay to learn your own body. I think me and Betty would agree that self-pleasure should not be shameful but embraced, everyone should know what pleases them, even and especially sexually.

Looking Deeper at our Phenomenal Feminist: Mindy Kaling

By Morgan Clark

Mindy Kaling is a 41-year-old American actress, best known from the very popular TV show The Office. In the show she plays Kelly, a boy crazy, airhead, customer service representative. Kaling was born Vera Mindy Chokalingam, and she has made her way up in Hollywood in her own way without and despite not sticking to society’s standard. Kaling is the daughter of two Indian immigrants who met in Nigeria and moved to the United States in 1979. She grew up watching sketch comedy television which helped develop her humor. Shows like “Living Color” and “Saturday Night Live” were some of her biggest influences.

In 2001 Kaling graduated from Dartmouth College with a B.A. in theatre. After graduating she moved to Brooklyn, there she shared an apartment with a woman named Brenda Wither. Together they created a satire named “Matt &Ben”, which went on to win the best overall production at New York International Fringe Festival in 2002. Their play had two years of success in Los Angeles, and it was Kaling’s door to The Office. The producer of the show Greg Daniel recruited her to help write for the show when it began and from there she ended up playing Kelly from 2005-2013. She also directed many episodes and became executive producer of The Office after many years. She did eventually leave the show that brought her up into the Hollywood scene, when she did she went on to become the first Indian American woman to ever write and star in her own show when she wrote and produced The Mindy Project, a show, in which she stars, about a doctor who is obsessed with finding a man. The show was on for five years before ending in 2017.


Throughout her career Kaling has spoken out about feminism and women’s right. She’s stated that The Mindy Project is “unconsciously feminist” because she is a feminist. (The character is loosely based on her). Even when it came to hiring she made sure to keep her staff diverse with a talented group of women. She has spoken out about her opinions regarding Hollywood and feminism, including how she feels women should not be applauded for doing their job in Hollywood because it should already be expected. Her platform just continues to grow, as she has gone on to be in many movies such as Ocean 8, Late Night, and A Wrinkle in Time. And now she has written two books which detail her own life, and in doing so empower women to be strong and, most importantly, to be themselves. She has and will continue to speak up for women’s rights, especially within the entertainment industry.

Reading Through Winter

By Jordan Tunks

With winter only a month away, colder air is upon us. With colder weather it is harder to go outside and enjoy the outdoors, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves. This can be a great time to either get caught up on some reading, or begin reading the books you have kept an eye on throughout the year. Reading is a great self-care activity and allows you to get in touch with yourself and learn new things that you may not have known before. Books are also a great way to find encouragement and empowerment for women. In this blog I will cover a few books from a couple different categories. There are books from all different genres in the lists, you just need to find what you enjoy most.

The first category will be woman empowerment. Present over Perfect by Shauna Neiquist is a book about being present in the moment and living life how you want instead of trying to be perfect all the time. Trying to be perfect all the time can be mentally draining and is bad for your well-being. Living life how you want to live will be so much more rewarding than trying to be perfect. This is a good choice for women to read with all the responsibilities that fall on them. Sometimes it is hard to live in the moment and not think about the next big thing coming in life. It can be difficult to not be stressed over things in the future that cannot be controlled in the moment. This can be helpful in learning how to live in the present and let the future, stay in the future.

The second category will be self-love. A category than many women struggle with. The beauty myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women by Naomi Wolf. This book expresses the beauty myth of women that there is an obsession of physical perfection that traps the modern woman in an endless spiral of hope, self-consciousness, and self-hatred as she tries to fulfil society’s impossible definition of the flawless beauty. Women have such high standards set for them and they have no control over it. They are always seeing social media posts that make them compare themselves to someone that is completely different from them. This is very unhealthy, and this book can help guide and teach women how to love their body the way it is.

The last category is defining self-worth. Own your everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley dives into how to deal with disappointment, remove labels and escape from expectations, remove excuses and unnecessary stress about the uncertain future, and stop thinking that there is an exact path you must follow. This book can help you overcome shame, practice gratitude, and redefine success to fit your life. Women tend to pay a lot of attention to expectations that lead to more stress and anxiety. This book can help tackle this issue and allow one to live her life without always trying to please others and live for herself.

Books can be a great way to find motivation and encouragement from other women. There are a ton of books in different categories that can fit everyone’s lifestyle. Finding what fits best for you will open up a whole new world you may not have known about in literature.

Time Magazines Top 100

By Caitlin Easter

Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the year came out recently, and it’s one of the most diverse and intersectional issues ever. The list also features the most women ever awarded, at almost half of the list being female. There are 48 women featured in this year’s list, which is up from the 45 who were featured last year. The list is made up of pioneers, artists, leaders, icons and titans, and women are representing in each category.

The list is selected every year from a list of candidates who made the largest impacts in the world, good or bad.  Nominated by list alumni and voted on by the public, the list embodies the changes that happened throughout the beginning of each year.

This year’s list is made up of strong, groundbreaking women from all walks of life: activists, chefs, athletes, authors, scientists, actresses, singers, models, painters, directors, designers, politicians, a first lady, survivors, journalists, business women, and architects. We see big names such as Sandra Oh, Taylor Swift, Michelle Obama, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ariana Grande, but also have the pleasure to learn names that we’re not all familiar with such as Greta Thunberg, Vera Jourova, Jeanne Gang, and Jennifer Hyman.  Women are finally starting to be equally represented in different aspects of life, and we’re ready for it!

A full list of this year’s recipients can be viewed at: http://time.com/collection/100-most-influential-people-2019/.

 

The 2019 Vagina Monologues

By Mackinzie Aulgur

“…find freedom, aliveness, and power not from what contains, locates, or protects us, but from what dissolves, reveals, and expands us.”- Eve Ensler

We all deserve to be ourselves, stand up for what we believe in, and voice our opinions; each and everyone one of us. This Thursday and Friday, February 21st-22nd, UMKC will be presenting the Vagina Monologues! Doors open at 7pm and performances will take place at 7:30pm. This year the monologues will have 18 presenters, all of which play vital parts. The Vagina Monologues are personal monologues read by a diverse group of women in our community. Their stories will touch on subjects such as sex, sex work, body image, love, rape, menstruation, female genital mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, and various names for the vagina. The main theme in the play is redefining the vagina to be seen as a symbol of female empowerment and the embodiment of our individuality (Mission, 2019).

In collaboration with V-Day, we will be selling our famous vagina pops (milk and dark chocolate), t-shirts, feminist mugs, Trailblazers’ blend coffee, and a variety unique of buttons before and after the performances. For those who may not know, V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. In fact, according to the United Nations, one of every three women on the planet will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime (Mission, 2019). While we cannot change the past, we have the opportunity to come together as a community, to show support and raise awareness for a better future. Please join us at this years Vagina Monologues as we all reflect on what unifies us in our fight for this goal.

Mission. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.vday.org/mission.html

Thursday, February 21. UMKC Student Union Theater, 5100 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $25 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $30 for non-students

Friday, February 22. UMKC Spencer Theater, James C. Olson Performing Arts Center, 4949 Cherry St. 

  • Advance tickets: $10 for students, $35 for non-students, $5 each for groups of 5 or more students
  • At the door: $15 for students, $40 for non-students

Tickets may be purchased through Central Ticket Office. Proceeds from all activities benefit the UMKC’s Women’s Center, Violence Prevention and Response Program and V-Day’s 2019 spotlight campaign.

 

Bye, Everyone!

By Maleigha Michael

My time at UMKC’s Women’s Center has come to a close. For my first internship experience, I’d give it two thumbs up. I’ll admit, I made a LOT of mistakes, mostly due to my lack of knowledge on how to conduct research work, and also just my general forgetfulness (thanks, ADHD). Thankfully, Arzie was in the center for most of my internship time so that I could ask her all of the dumb questions that should’ve asked weeks before I actually asked them.

Working at the Women’s Center wasn’t just a job – it was a responsibility to represent this campus’s women and promote the best image of a woman that this college community should uphold. Whether I was doing that through Facebook and Twitter posts, or while working the Women’s Center table at the Orientation Resource Fairs, it was a greater responsibility than I thought it would be. It also helped me become a more educated feminist, since I had to do daily posts for the social media pages. The resource fairs were more intriguing though, since it involved real interaction with the students and their families. Let me go off on a little tangent about the parents really quick — I found them very interesting. You either got a parent way more enthusiastic than their kid and you could tell they were already getting empty-nest syndrome, or you had a mom come up saying, “Oh, I’m just interested in this for myself. I have a son, so he doesn’t need this!” which is clearly SO wrong. I heard this comment multiple times while working the table with Chris Williams (one of the other workers in the Center), which made this even more bizarre, since he’s a man… You’d think the mom would stop to think, “Wait, if this man is supporting the Women’s Center, maybe it’s important for other men, including my son, to be just as educated on women in order to further promote the equality of men and women!” (Sorry, I don’t mean to exclude those that are non-binary conforming, I just don’t think that this hypothetical-mom would have included them).

Okay, tangent over. Back to what I learned. The majority of my learning came from the actual internship research work I did. This research work was regarding women’s representation in the arts, specifically art museums around KC. I was looking at stuff like how many women artists were represented in museums, how many works of art were created by women in those museums, and how many women were being exhibited in museums versus men. One thing that I learned that stuck out to me was that while there are plenty of women in Missouri art museums that are able to work their way to the top of their fields, nationally and globally, however, women are still insanely underrepresented in those areas. Arzie taught me that this is bad, not just because there’s a lack of equity in this job field (like most job fields), but because when there is no equity in these prestigious jobs where works of art are being decided on whether or not they should be displayed to the public, the women’s perspective isn’t being represented. This means you end up with statistics like less than 3% of the artists in Modern Art sections are women, and yet 83% of the nudes are female (http://www.guerrillagirls.com/). These statistics enforce ideals in their viewers that women are allowed to be used by men, and that their art isn’t as valued or important.

Something else the Women’s Center pushed me to do was to be a better feminist. In my head, I’m a pretty great feminist, but that’s different when you’re out there in the real world. I can think as many progressive thoughts in my head as I want, but I normally don’t take action (like I should) to promote these thoughts, or even seek out new information to learn more about feminism. The Women’s Center made me get more involved in what’s happening with feminists around the world today and it made me share those findings with other feminists to hopefully educate them more, as I have myself. Simply working at the Women’s Center has motivated me to think about feminism much more than I previously had. Don’t get me wrong – I have a very feminist mindset. But for instance, at my job where I work as a waitress, there are so many people there that are such unbelievably regressive-thinkers. And normally, I would just brush them off, maybe make a small comment if they said something that REALLY got under my skin, but that’d be pretty much it. I didn’t think that what I could say could really change what they thought. By working around so many inspiring feminists at the Women’s Center, I have felt empowered enough to speak up at any chance I get to defend feminism and try to chip away at their misogynist minds.

I’m so glad I had the opportunity to work not just in a program that immersed me in the art and art history world (since that is my major), but one that immersed me in it with the perspective of a feminist. While feminism applies everywhere, there aren’t many internships where the focus and expectation is to actually study and promote gender equality. While I try avoiding sounding cheesy at all costs, I’m definitely going to miss being in a place where feminism is the main topic of discussion, AND where I can geek out about art history. I don’t think this is my final farewell though… I’ll probably check in with the Women’s Center every so often to see how they’re surviving without their main star player. (Kidding, of course.)

Goodbye, everyone!

 

Kate Spade: The Woman Who Helped Young Women Enter Adulthood

By Ann Varner

My first Kate Spade bag was a bright blue, square-shaped purse with green polka dots on the inside. I still have this bag as it’s my favorite. The color and shape are so unique that everywhere I go I receive compliments and the question “where did you get that?” I usually tell them my secret – the Kate Spade surprise sale. This sale was the only way I could afford a Kate Spade bag. All the clearance items would be an extra 75% off. I could always get a bag for under $100 that was big enough to hold everything I needed it to. My Kate Spade bag gave me all the confidence in the world when I was 20-years-old and learning how to navigate life. I had just moved to a city where I knew no one and was figuring out what to do with my life, and this bag symbolized my quest to find myself.  I was learning what it meant to be an independent woman in today’s world and that bag helped me grow from adolescence into young adulthood.

Many young women like me felt the same way. According to a recent article in The New York Times: “Buying a Kate Spade handbag was a coming-of-age ritual for a generation of American women. The designer created an accessories empire that helped define the look of an era. The purses she made became a status symbol and a token of adulthood.” No truer words have been written.

Kate Spade, with her husband Andy Spade, launched the Kate Spade label in 1993. Her bags were quirky, much like her smile. They had bright colors and fun designs that made people smile. Unlike other designer bags, Kate Spade bags were affordable and women of all different economic classes could afford to have one of their own. All Kate Spade bags have their own personality, and it was easy to find one that matched your own. Unlike many of the male purse designers in the world who created neutral colored purses with large logos, Kate Spade knew what women wanted to carry around. She became one of the first women entrepreneurs in the fashion world with a high rise to success. A great quote in the Atlantic sums up what Kate Spade did for women:

“Working in an industry largely run by men, Spade didn’t invent the idea of the professional woman who also cared about style; she was just responding to the reality of what women were already doing…she solved the problem of what women wanted without elitism.”

Kate Spade is a Kansas City native. Born and raised in Kansas City, we are proud to call her our own. She also contributed to the Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City after her friend suffered a traumatic brain injury. Her impact on the fashion world showed that a girl from the Midwest could become a fashion mogul in New York City.  Her red lipstick and smile will be dearly missed. I encourage you to not focus on how she passed away, but on her successes in life.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately. Go to a hospital, call 911, or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).