by Naomi Katz, Founder of Beautiful Project. Originally published here.

Announcing..Beautiful Project is now accepting applications for our Youth Council! Open to women aged 15-25 who want to join a global community of young women who are inspired to create art and share it to empower themselves and others. Click here for more information and please, please share.  You can easily spread the word via the websiteFacebookInstagram or Twitter.

The idea of the Youth Council came to me in part because I am inspired by the work of Aria Watson, an 18-year-old student in Oregon, who created the series #SignedByTrump, featuring photos of women who wear Trump’s words on their naked bodies (including the photo above). Watson’s work moves me because she is calling on us to pay attention, even more than we already are, by giving these horrific words a form – the female form. In doing so she, of course, further points out the toxic nature of these messages, and also – perhaps more importantly – takes a step toward making change by creating art. My teachers were right when they taught me that art calls the people to listen.

As I plan my tour in the US (Jan 20 – Feb 6, more info below) I am listening to people express their deep, painful fear. I am hearing how incidents of sexism, racism, hatred of all kinds are showing people that these sentiments are hidden, just below the surface, almost as if people are waiting for the right moment to express them – and now it has come.  That may or may not be true…but no matter what we still have the power to affect change.  And, as Aria’s work reminds us, that power is greater now, more than ever, as we witness the impact of social media when people’s messages go viral over the internet.   May we all, always, remember our possibility, our capacity to make change…especially when we create art.  Thanks for the inspiration, Aria!

With honor and respect to the art of the women of the generations,
Naomi