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This Thursday, May 7, Lafayette 148 New York is hosting a Zoom event (sign up here) for its second annual “UnordinaryWomen” campaign. The fashion brand launched the digital initiative benefiting Girl Rising in early April, featuring film, photographs, and messages from the likes of artist Amy Sherald, Director of the Brooklyn Museum Anne Pasternak, art advisor Maria Brito, and other remarkable women.
“In these unordinary times, we all need to be inspired,” said Lafayette 148 Co-Founder and CEO Deirdre Quinn in a statement. “Now more than ever, we need stories that show us the power of lifting each other up. As a company led by women for women, we’re committed to nurturing girls and helping them flourish through education so they can become the next generation of UnordinaryWomen. I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve created.”
Followers of Lafayette 148 New York are encouraged to support the campaign with the hashtag #L148UnordinaryWomen on Instagram and Facebook. Through May 15, for every comment posted, the brand will donate $10 to Girl Rising, a non-profit advocating globally for young women’s rights and education.
Ahead of the digital gathering this week, Whitewall checked in with Sherald, known for her painting practice, and her iconic portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama.
WHITEWALL: Can you tell us about how you came to be involved in Lafayette 148 New York’s #L148UnordinaryWoman campaign?
AMY SHERALD: I was asked to be a part of the campaign. Once I found out about it and they shared that the collaboration was to raise money for Girl Rising it was a no brainer! I’m all-in on a mission that supports girls and women
WW: Yes, Girl Rising is a non-profit that advocates for girls’ rights and education around the world. What impact did education have on your role as an artist?
AS: Education had and continues to have a huge impact on my role as an artist. All great art starts somewhere, and for me it is always a book. The more words you have access to, the larger your vocabulary, and therefore the more expansive your vision. It empowers you to have a broader perspective of the world around you.
WW: Speaking of “unordinary,” The response to your portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama has been unordinary—critically, digitally, and in terms of attendance at the National Portrait Gallery. How did that impact what you wanted to do next?
AS: This was expected; however, it did not influence the direction I take in my studio practice. I was elated to see people excited and engaged in art and in art spaces that had no prior inclination to seek that kind of thing out. The portrait has become beacon of hope and inspiration for many people. I’m just grateful that I had an opportunity to create something that carries with it such a beautiful legacy.