Who Are Women In Power That Inspire You?

In AP Art and Design, students create a Sustained Investigation project which explores a central idea. This year, Pinewood senior Reilly Brady created an interactive piece as part of her Sustained Investigation project which served as a place for connection and exploration for her Upper Campus community. Here, Reilly shares with us about her piece, where she took inspiration, her perspective on the community's reaction to her artwork, and the powerful women in her life who inspire her.

Describe your Sustained Investigation piece.

My piece is an interactive artwork based on my own design of the words “women in power.” After printing my design through screen printing, I decided to make the piece interactive with Pinewood by displaying it in the hallway and including a question: Who are women in power that inspire you?

What was your inspiration for this piece?

The prints surrounding the question were at first just practice prints for a different project, as I was originally planning to just print the design on t-shirts. However, Ms. Miller noted that it would be interesting to display my prints together, and she helped guide me to come up with the interactive element of the artwork. When originally designing my “women in power” design, I drew inspiration from artist Barbara Kruger, who worked with images and short phrases to convey feminist and activist messages.

Why did you want to share this specific work with the Pinewood Upper Campus community?

Part of my goal in my Sustained Investigation is to make my art pieces interactive. As I explore themes of activism and women’s rights, I’ve learned that by making an activist artwork interactive, the artwork transforms from something personally meaningful to something powerful and meaningful to others. Though my design is personal to me, by sharing it with Pinewood, I hope that others will connect to it and draw meaning from it as well.

Describe the Pinewood community's reaction to your piece.

I was originally apprehensive of displaying it in front of my classmates and teachers. Pinewood is an extremely supportive environment, but the idea of displaying a personal artwork, especially one with an activist theme, was a bit scary. However, the response I received was unexpectedly enthusiastic. Hearing other people’s support was uplifting as I watched my friends take time out of their day to deeply consider women of power in their lives and appreciate them. Additionally, the support from my teachers made me feel encouraged. I was happy to see responses from students of all ages and gender identities, and I enjoyed connecting with them as they wrote names of family members, friends, famous politicians, and more. I also learned about how the concept of “power” can be applied to a variety of women, and that a woman does not need to be in a position of power in her career to be considered a woman in power.

Who is a woman in power that inspires you?

I couldn’t choose just one! So I chose three.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a recent inspiration to me after I watched a documentary about her and researched her life as a Supreme Court justice. She inspires me as a woman who is extremely smart, powerful, and not afraid to speak her mind. As an activist for equality of the sexes, she is someone who has been historically outspoken, yet she never gives up. As a Supreme Court justice, she has fought for equality and proved her intelligence and perseverance time and time again.

My mom is a woman in power who has always been my main inspiration. As she fought through illness and health problems, she continued to be selfless and rarely complained. Her toughness rang true both in her strength during difficult medical procedures and in her confidence in her own opinions and beliefs. She never cowered away from a debate or conflict and always spoke her mind. As a woman in power, she constantly taught me to stand up for myself and my personal beliefs and to never cower from a challenge.

My Grandma Judy is definitely a woman in power, though she may not recognize it in herself. She inspires me as someone who always puts the needs of others before her own. She often helps her friends in need, from doing something as simple as cooking meals for them to something as time-consuming as babysitting their grandchildren. Her power and inspirational qualities are evident through her influence on others — those in my grade who went to Pinewood’s Middle Campus with me know Judy well, as she would bring my entire grade pumpkin cookies on multiple occasions.

A Message from Reilly

As part of my sustained investigation for AP Art and Design this year, I am creating interactive artwork to involve my community in the topic of women’s rights, such as women empowerment and the wage gap. You can see examples of some of the work I have created so far at the top of this page. I have already created work that engages students on campus, but I would like to take my investigation a step further and engage my local community.

I am reaching out to the Pinewood community to find local organizations or businesses that would be interested in working with me to display or use my art. I am looking to partner with women-owned business or women’s rights organizations, but I am also open to working with any organization that would be interested in displaying or supporting my artwork. Additionally, I would love to work with women’s rights organizations to create new artworks unique to the organization. If you know of any such business or organization, please contact me here.

If you have any questions, you can also reach out to my teacher, Caitlin Miller, here.

Reilly Brady