Linda Stein is a feminist artist, activist, educator, performer, and writer. She is the Founding President of the non-profit Have Art: Will Travel! Inc (HAWT) addressing Bullying and Gender Justice.
HAWT currently oversees The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture by Linda Stein (FoG) and Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females – Tapestries and Sculpture by Linda Stein (H2F2), two traveling exhibitions with educational workshops. Two more exhibitions are currently in progress: Displacement From Home: What To Leave, What To Take and Sexism and Masculinities/Femininities: Exploding, Expanding Gender Expression.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
Art opens minds. It inspires participants to turn ideas into actions. With art as a starting point, I want to empower people to reach their personal authenticity and—beyond themselves—accept diversity in others. They can become Everyday Heroes and stand up to bullies and bigots.
Tell us about your business.
I’m unusual as an artist, because I also have a non-profit corporation, Have Art: Will Travel! My art and non-profit both address issues of persecution and protection, focusing on oppression of the “other” through the lens of anti-bullying and gender justice. Gloria Steinem helped us make a 7-minute video along with a published book, Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females, which tells about some of my work.
I have been selected to serve as one of the 2018 “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews. The New York City Art Teachers Association/UFT has honored me with their 2017 Artist of the Year award. I have been honored with the 2016 Artist of the Year Award by the National Association of Women Artists for my “Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.”
I have also been awarded grants and residencies from Squire Foundation, Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, Djerassi Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Hunter College, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Suffolk BOCES Arts and Humanities, and the America the Beautiful Fund. A full list of all my accomplishments can be found here and here.
Where is your business based?
Tribeca, Manhattan as well as East Hampton.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I’ve been an artist all my life. Early on, I took my portfolio around to galleries.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
By having exhibitions and giving lectures throughout the United States. We are scheduled to bring two of our exhibitions and educational initiatives to Australia in May, 2019.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Sexism in the art world.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Through the power of my art and writing; I now write for the Huffington Post.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I source the energy of superheroes and pop-culture icons, such as Wonder Woman, Storm, Princess Mononoke, Lady Gaga, Lisbeth Salander (from the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). They play a prominent role in my art and in my lectures.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I have a non-profit called Have Art: Will Travel! (HAWT), with educational programs by a national curricular team of scholars, in association with Penn State University.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Keep doing “what comes natural.”
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Be organized. Be authentic.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
My “family” of heroes are close to my heart. They provide an entry for young (and old) who want to start conversations about protection and empathy, using art as a starting point.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
How stories of everyday heroes can influence my audiences when I give my lectures.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
To do more art on my series involving “masculinities” and “femininities.”
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.