Tag Archives: success

Sandra’s Art Selected in Durant Center Exhibit

19 Sep

Congratulations to Sandra!

Sandra, an ETS student and recent EWI scholarship recipient, has had 2 pieces selected to be presented in the Young at Art exhibit in the Durant Art center of Alexandria.

Sandra comes from a family of very strong women dating back to 1861, in Washington DC. Her introduction to art has been through nature, by watching and appreciating the different ways that nature reveals itself artistically. Her multi-media talents are in metal-smithing, enameling, fabric art, beading and papermaking, to name a few.

Unable to pass up something discarded that could have another life, she’s been picking up things for years, thinking of how she can use it and make a difference. It all comes together in her gorgeous creations of reclaimed, up-cycled, and recycled dolls and hand bags. These are truly object of art, and objects that she uses to spread the word about the life-cycle of materials and the importance of re-using items. “This should not be a fad, but the norm for the average person and available to anyone,” she insists.

To hear more from Sandra and see her lovely pieces, please join us for the Young at Art exhibit opening reception this

Thursday September 20th, from 5pm-7pm
at the Durant Art Center
1605 Cameron st
Alexandria, VA 22314


Sandra's dolls, jewelry, & bags

Sandra's dolls, jewelry, & bags


Climbing the Mountain to Success- Featured Artist: Jane Smith

5 Jun

Throughout life, we all have various mountains to climb. At times life throws us what seems like a rolling hill, an obstacle that, with a little work, can easily be overcome. At other times, the challenges seem much larger, like a snow capped mountain looming overhead. Three years ago Jane was given a diagnosis that would reshape the world she knew-  breast cancer.  Undaunted, she met the challenge face-to-face and began her climb. Gritting her teeth with determination, she began the arduous trek that was in front of her.  Despite the difficulties and hurdles that laid in her path, she climbed her way to the top of that mountain and left cancer behind.  However, the climb had been laborious and left Jane with the need to rejuvenate a positive self-image of being a beautiful woman.

Victorious, another mountain lay in front her, but Jane is a survivor. Laid off from her job in 2009, Jane began to look for a way to encourage others who had similar experiences. She began to dream of starting a business as an image coach for women who live with chronic illnesses or have had life-changing health circumstances.  Realizing there was a lack of support for healthy body images among women who have had similar journeys, Jane desired to fill a gap.

From inception to birth, “Still Sassy” has been a process. “Professional fears and self-doubts paralyzed me for several years, after my mastectomy.  Working in isolation, bumping around with ideas and passion in my head got me nowhere!”   However, after entering EWI’s Entrepreneurship Training Program, “Still Sassy” started to become a reality.  “It was like hanging on to a baby bird that was ready to fly…every time I got close, I ran back to the nest – even though I was quickly outgrowing it.  EWI provided a safe and thoughtful place for me to tap into my courage for a new and daring adventure!”  Throughout the program, Jane has worked to build her business and through the guidance and assistance of both trainers and mentors, has realized that her passion can be a viable product.  Reflecting on what she has learned over the course, Jane says she has felt her confidence grow as she works to solidify her business plan and has gained clarity and focus with each class.  One ‘aha! moment’ was during the presentation on professional speaking. “It was helpful to see what and how I present without much time to prepare my pitch and persona – I realize what I left out that would have made my pitch more powerful…and what I did right to engage the audience.”

In June, not only will Jane graduate from ETS, but “Still Sassy” will officially launch through a webinar, hosting 2 dynamite professionals who will share their perspectives on ways to renew and relaunch oneself after a cancer diagnosis. Reflecting back on her journey, Jane says, “EWI will be there with me… like an invisible guardian angel riding on my shoulder.  I am not alone!”

Written by: Sarah Bouwer

Portable Art- Featured Artist: Pilar Ortiz

4 Jun

Growing up, Pilar was surrounded by people who were passionate about the fine arts.  As a result, her love for art and music grew, cultured not only by her artistic parents, but also through various professionals who provided guidance in her own personal development.

After receiving her degree in Fine Arts and Design from Columbia, Pilar decided to look for opportunities elsewhere. Young and impressionable, she turned her eyes towards opportunities that would represent adventure, inspiration, and personal development. As a result, in 1993, she immigrated to the United States. As years passed, Pilar continued to express herself creatively and was able to turn her talents into a career specializing in interior design.

Two years ago, an idea began to form.  Recognizing that many young immigrant women need inspiration as they find their foothold in a new country, Pilar began to create paintings that reflected the richness of South America, intertwined with motivational thoughts in Spanish.  Although full of passion, Pilar was unsure of how to create a viable business out of her artwork.   Unsure of where to go, Pilar came to EWI to enroll in the Entrepreneur Training for Success Program.

Pilar’s “Forever Friends” painting

“When I think about EWI, I think about opportunity to establish a business from our talent… [through the classes]  I gained knowledge, information, focus and organization.”  Through the course of the program, Pilar’s ideas have continued to grow and transform. Initially Pilar created her artwork using a variety of mediums: oil and watercolor on canvas, hand painted ceramic tiles, and textiles.  Although she has shown her work in a few exhibitions abroad, Pilar wanted to extend the scope of her work. By collaborating with her classmates, she began to develop her ideas and think of ways to broaden her market access. “To me, the most important key moment was when Marga gave the advice that I should focus on my artistic side and showed me that I had potential to make a living from my art.” Through the spring 2012 session, Pilar has seen her vision, Portable Art Impressions, become a reality.  Focusing on laptop covers and cell phone skins, Pilar has found a niche that allows her work to be displayed through new mediums to a wider market. “Once I finish my class, I’m ready to start selling my products online. I have created and readied my platform of sales, and have a company that will reproduce my art for device skins.  I’m so happy with the help this organization gave to me!”

Written by: Sarah Bouwer

Mariana Fernandez

7 Jun

Originally Posted on March 11th, 2009

Mariana Fernandez, EWI Artist, Set Designer

I see very positive changes in my life after being part of EWI’s programs and services. Being connected with great artists and EWI staff who kept me focused on my art and strengths increased my confidence significantly. I really feel part of a community of support for women in the arts. In this field is very difficult to keep high hopes all the time. Sometimes, people feel disappointed and demoralized.

However, EWI’s director is always pushing and giving us the support we need it to succeed! It is so important to have people around you who can believe in what you do and who you are! You can find that support at EWI!

Mariana Fernandez

Read the interview here: [download id=”8″]