After stepping through the doors of Mansion of the Future, I’m immediately hit by a wave of femininity and creativity. At this WITA (Women In the Arts) event, stallholders are just packing up their tables for the day, but I still manage to catch glimpses of the art which featured here for people to buy and admire.
Badges with feminist slogans, paintings portraying empowerment, an abundance of Frida Kahlo artwork and even a girl dressed in a ballerina’s outfit all catch my attention as I make my way around the venue. Compliments are dished out from seller to seller. The sense of sisterhood is almost enough to make you emotional. A young girl who is no older than five stares in fascination, as if the princess characters from fairy-tales have come to life in the form of inspirational business women right in front of her eyes.
One of the event organiser’s Gemma Baker is in a flurry when I meet her, encompassed in distractions from the bustling surroundings, but she still manages to greet me with a welcoming smile. When I ask her about the group and how it came to be, she replies with a proud certainty: “We are Women In the Arts, an organisation based in Lincoln which support, connect and empower creative women. We really wanted to provide a platform for local artists that wouldn’t cost them anything so that the money they made went straight to them, so they didn’t have to make say £300 before they made a profit.”
WITA was created in February 2018 and the group have been running workshops, showcases, network events and online promotion ever since. It’s a voluntary project that Gemma set up along with musician Sarah Hughes, with funding coming from events funded by the group and minimal social media marketing.
“The public have been absolutely lovely. They’ve supported everybody”, Gemma tells me excitedly. The WITA Facebook group has proven to be particularly popular, now with 1,346 likes.
One twitter user took to social media to write: “Some of my favourite, uplifting and empowering events have been put on by you. Thank you for helping to celebrate women in Lincoln”.
The creation of the group comes alongside that of the Lincoln Girl Gang Facebook group, which rocketed in popularity after being created by student Amber Marshall last year to help keep girls safer around the city. The originally Lincolnshire based Ask for Angela campaign created in 2016, also set out with the aim to keep women safer on dates by using a safe word at the bar.
In a world where feminism continues to flourish, WITA’s creation may now be more relevant than ever. To find out more about the organisation you can visit their website.