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"Phenomenal Women": Portsmouth Teens Explore Their Own Potential

"I'm going to keep making art of course. Art lets me show people that I'm just like them"

~AIR Participant

Teenage girls spent eight weeks working with professional artists and art educators (all volunteers) in Portsmouth, developing their visual arts skills and exploring their own self-authenticity and inner-beauty. During the course of the program, teens visited the Portland Museum of Art, created short group films centered around the theme of Woman: Revealed, and in collaboration with one another and with the coordinating artists, created an exhibit titled "I Am..." for the Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery in Portsmouth, which displayed the projects throughout the month of March 2013. This project was one of many undertaken by AIR, furthering the mission of allowing teenage girls to find and express their "voice" through the arts, and of empowering them to celebrate themselves as "phenomenal women."


AIR seeks to help teenage girls:

  • Empower themselves through the arts

  • Recognize art and creativity as a method of overcoming personal struggles

  • Develop positive goals for their future

  • Find their voice and explore their authentic selves


Arts In Reach: An organization which provides after-school and vacation programming in visual and performing arts education for teenage girls in need of empowerment 

Project Coordinator: Virginia Skevington, Executive Director

Volunteer Artists: Peggy Murray, Shawn Pelech, Ree Katrak, JoAnn Potalupi, Adeline Goldminc-Tronzo & Jan Waldron

20 teenage girls, 22 communities on the Seacoast


This program was made possible through funding from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Oleonda Jameson Trust, The Josephine A. Lamprey Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, Rosamond Thaxter Foundation, Seacoast Woman's Network, the Mentor Network Charitable Foundation, AIR's Board of Directors, AIR HonorAIRies, donors, and AIR families. Additional contributions came from The New Hampshire Art Association (with special thanks to Katie Muth), The First United Methodist Church of Portsmouth, The Portland Museum of Art, Kennedy Studios, The Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, and Jardinière.


AIR has shared their evaluation materials for this project. To view these materials: click here

"We shared what we learned from years of practicing our own art. And what they shared with us, in return, were paintings, drawings, images and ideas more vivid than we ourselves could've imagined"

~AIR Volunteer Artist

"Before I came to AIR I was very depressed. I was lost and felt empty. When I was in AIR I learned to love who I am and get along better with others"

~AIR Participant


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