Let’s Talk: Women in the Creative Industries
February 23, 2018 by Emma Drew
Blue heads.
A young lady is sitting on the edge of the couch.  She is bathed in a pink light.
AnnaLiisa Ariosa-Benston. Photographed by Miria Sabina.
two womens picture

This year's Let's Talk panel, an annual evening of casual, but practical discussion hosted by Alumni Affairs, tackles the perennially relevant and recently reasserted topic of gender equality and the experiences of women in the workplace. "Women in the Creative Industries," happening Wednesday, February 28 at the SVA Theatre, will feature four alumni from various creative fields in conversation with each other and moderator Kate Styer, Alumni Affairs Manager, as they share challenges to overcome and lessons learned throughout their professional lives.

Inspired by the national conversation surrounding the treatment of women at work, and the louder advocacy for an equitable society, the event responds to what Alumni Affairs saw students and graduates talking about amongst themselves, with their communities, and on social media. "It's a timely and important topic—we want to give alumni the chance to get involved with the conversation with the school," said Styer.

The event on Wednesday will feature women who work and create in the tech, design and visual art worlds. AnnaLiisa Ariosa-Benston (MFA 2016 Fine Arts) is a fine artist, curator and director whose interactive installations incorporate two-dimensional artworks, wearable art objects, and often live tattooing, and have a strong focus on feminism, inclusiveness, and social codification. Writer, artist and filmmaker Nadia DeLane (MFA 2015 Visual Narrative) is a new media visual storyteller working in print, illustration, animation and graphic design. Her current project, Coif City, is an illustrated hair zine dedicated to women's hair narratives. Jessica Perilla (BFA 2004 Graphic Design) is an award-winning entrepreneur and designer who has worked in web design for the past 17 years. She founded JPD Studio, an NYC certified minority and women-owned business and women-run full-service branding and web development and design firm. Author/illustrator Aura Lewis (MFA 2017 Illustration as Visual Essay) illustrates for online and print publications and her upcoming a picture book about Gloria Steinem, Gloria’s Voice, comes out in March.

The jacket is red and white. The jacket is hanging on a neon hanger.
Courtesy to AnnaLiisa Ariosa-Benston.

"I'm excited to participate because now more than ever it is important for women to tell their stories and inspire other women," Perilla said. "When I was launching my company 11 years ago there were barely any women at the tech events I attended, even less seen on panels. I've learned that you have to see it to be it, so I look forward to sharing about my journey in tech."

Speaking as accomplished women to a potentially younger, more fledgling crowd, Styer will invite panelists to discuss obstacles as well as successes across their various careers. "I'm really curious to hear about the point in their lives when they realized their identity as a woman as it factored into their work," she said.

Let's Talk, now in its third year styled as such, began as broader career-oriented talks from alumni; organizers then took a cue from 2017's political climate to discuss activism in art with last year's panel. Events like Let's Talk position Alumni Affairs and the College as continuing resources for alumni after graduation, Styer noted. "The issues are important to our alumni and community and they're important to us."

"Let's Talk: Women in the Creative Industries" will take place on Wednesday, February 28, from 7:00 to 9:00pm, at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. A reception for SVA alumni and current students will follow the discussion; drinks and hors-d'oeuvres will be served.