Alumni Highlight / Julie Van Grol Evening of Art and Advocacy
MCAD and St. Olaf College came together on the final day of the 2017 MCAD spring semester to host An Evening of Art and Advocacy with Julie Van Grol MFA 14’s Badass Babes project. After snacking on treats from the award-winning, female-owned, Minneapolis catering company Chow Girls, attendees of the event were welcomed to hear Julie’s story of the Badass Babes.
“Julie talked about her progression from creating art that didn’t necessarily hold a sociopolitical weight, and even defending that on the very same podium during her thesis presentation a couple years back, to making political work that stood for women and marginalized communities. Through the power of illustration and storytelling she relates and attempts to make a change, even in the lives of those whose are nothing like her.”
For her #100DaysofBadassBabes project, Julie decided to illustrate an influential woman every day for 100 days. Posting on her social media accounts every day, each portrait was accompanied by a written statement about that woman’s influential life. Her subjects ranged from politicians to comedians and everything in between, including the likes of Michelle Obama, Tig Notaro, Lavern Cox, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The project quickly gained national media attention, including the Huffington Post. Julie’s portrait of Ilhan Omar—a Somali American woman who, at the time, was running for the position she now holds in the Minnesota House of Representatives—lead to a partnership between Julie and Ilhan Omar’s campaign.
The presentation by Julie was followed by a panel discussion with other women artists from both St. Olaf College and MCAD. Mónica Nadal of Pollen led the panel as MCAD MFA mentor Allegra Lockstadt, MCAD MFA alum Leslie Barlow ’16, Molly Sanford, Lucie Skjefte, and Julie talked about their creative practices, and how the concept and ideals of Badass Babes are reflected in their work.
If you missed this awesome event, check out the video recording of Julie’s presentation and the panel discussion here!
Photo Credit: Katie Kaufman
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