Fear­less girls unite

Cre­ator of ac­claimed statue makes ap­pear­ance in Newark

Newark Post - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

A replica of the ac­claimed “Fear­less Girl” statue – and the Delaware artist who cre­ated it – made an ap­pear­ance in Newark for a fe­male em­pow­er­ment event on Sat­ur­day.

The Fear­less 5K, which was a fundraiser for Mid-At­lantic Bal­let, drew 150 par­tic­i­pants, many of them young girls. Af­ter the run, the par­tic­i­pants gath­ered for an af­ter-party at the Deer Park Tav­ern, where they heard from sculp­tor Kris­ten Vis­bal and posed for pho­tos with the statue.

Vis­bal, whose stu­dio is in Lewes, was com­mis­sioned by the

in­vest­ment firm State Street Global Ad­vis­ers to cre­ate the statue in honor of last year’s In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day. The piece was in­stalled on Wall Street in New York City, with the girl ap­pear­ing to de­fi­antly stare down the well-known “Charg­ing Bull” statue.

“Fear­less Girl” be­came an overnight sen­sa­tion, draw­ing world­wide at­ten­tion.

“The ini­tial mes­sage was to cel­e­brate In­ter­na­tional Women’s Day and to send a mes­sage of in­clu­sion to the male-dom­i­nated Wall Street com­mu­nity that women were part of that com­mu­nity and that women are very im­por­tant to the fu­ture of busi­ness,” Vis­bal said, adding, “She’s a sym­bol of courage that ob­vi­ously the women’s move­ment needed.”

Tim Len­non, trea­surer of Mid-At­lantic Bal­let, said the mes­sage of “Fear­less Girl” struck a chord with him.

“I was re­ally touched by what it meant,” Len­non said. “I have two girls and I’ve worked with a lot of amaz­ing women.”

On a whim, he con­tacted Vis­bal to see if she would be will­ing to help Mid-At­lantic Bal­let, which is lo­cated off Elk­ton Road and re­cently marked its 20th an­niver­sary in Newark.

To his sur­prise, Vis­bal re­sponded. She do­nated a framed photo of “Fear­less Girl” for a fundraiser last year and agreed to at­tend Sat­ur­day’s 5K. She will re­turn June 2 for the bal­let stu­dio’s year-end show, which will in­clude a dance num­ber in­spired by the statue. In con­junc­tion with the event, the or­ga­ni­za­tion will host a poster art con­test for lo­cal stu­dents.

“It’s re­ally im­por­tant to work on a grass­roots level,” Vis­bal said. “Mid-At­lantic Bal­let is in my back­yard. We need to be work­ing with young peo­ple to af­fect a re­ally di­verse com­mu­nity.”

Vis­bal told the crowd Sat­ur­day that she has never felt dis­crim­i­nated against be­cause she is a woman but un­der­stands there is a dis­par­ity be­tween the way men and women are treated.

“We’re all born into this world with­out any prej­u­dice,” she said. “It’s learned. We learn it from our teach­ers, our par­ents, the com­mu­nity around us. So un­learn the prej­u­dice. Try and open your mind to the peo­ple around you.”

Stud­ies have shown men and women’s brains process things dif­fer­ently, and both meth­ods are im­por­tant, Vis­bal said.

“Women use a lot more white mat­ter; they can mul­ti­task. Men use a lot more gray mat­ter. That means they can jump on a sit­u­a­tion and take ad­van­tage of an op­por­tu­nity very quickly,” she said. “We need both to make bet­ter de­ci­sions. The sooner you un­der­stand that, the sooner we evolve as a global com­mu­nity.”

“Fear­less Girl” re­cently marked its one-year an­niver­sary on Wall Street, though there has been talk about mov­ing it and the bull statue to a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion in New York that can ac­com­mo­date more tourists. Re­cently, Vis­bal be­gan sell­ing re­pro­duc­tions of the statue on her web­site, fear­less­girl. us, to raise money for an ed­u­ca­tional out­reach pro­gram she in plan­ning.

“It’s about all of us to­gether, re­spect­ing each other,” she said. “Be fear­less.”

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Fear­less 5K par­tic­i­pants pose with a replica of the “Fear­less Girl” statue out­side the Deer Park Tav­ern on Sat­ur­day.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Artist Kris­ten Vis­bal speaks Sat­ur­day as a replica of her “Fear­less Girl” statue sits on dis­play at the Deer Park Tav­ern.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Run­ners par­tic­i­pate in the Fear­less 5K.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Kellyann Ward, of Newark, poses with a replica of the “Fear­less Girl” statue.

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