A group of women that includes traditional artists as well as business owners and educators, known as Artessa Alliance is taking the tenant that anyone who creates is an artist and putting it into practice like never before. The Artessa Alliance is an organization that promotes the establishment and growth of women artists within the greater Philadelphia area, through various collaborations and connections between members of the organization, naturally sharing a few members with InLiquid, including Rebecca Schultz and Teresa Shields. It was formed from a local mothers’ art cooperative in 2006–formerly known as MamaCITA–with the additional goal of supporting mothers who were seeking a creative outlet from the rigors of parenthood.
Naturally, since this group was founded by mothers, motherhood was made a requirement to gain membership. However, Artessa Alliance has recently shifted their requirements associated with membership, essentially removing the motherhood requirement, so women no longer have to be mothers to become members. Their definition of the artist has also seen a change and has opened up possible membership even further.
This change came about as the organization realized that through its restrictive inclusion, it was going against its fundamental prerogative of finding strength through unity. While this shift is certainly an exciting one, it came much sooner than expected, with the initial launch of the new standard set to take place in February of 2021. But when the current COVID-19 pandemic began, it seemed there was no greater time to focus on collaboration and finding strength in (socially distanced) numbers, especially considering the direct impact this crisis has had on the members of Artessa Alliance and necessitated the closing of their arts center. Through countless Zoom calls and emails, this group has managed to not only continue their work but expand their reach and impact through these new membership changes, allowing their newfound members to reap the benefits of their extensive network. Now, it is the symbol of a tessellation, (a specific type of art installation that is created when a shape is repeated while covering a plane, without any gaps or overlaps) that is used to represent the overall impact these changes are meant to relay, a shining example of the idea that each woman artist is made stronger by the combined power and beauty of cohesive unity.
These recent changes do not, however, change what has always been at the core of Artessa Alliance. What makes them such a unique and essential organization to so many women, remains the same. It is the pillars of compassion, unity, and determination that has always, and will always, hold Artessa Alliance up as a beacon for women artists everywhere. Artessa Alliance is of the firm belief that it is through the practice of these core ideals that women can not only rise up but raise others along with them through the creation and promotion of art.