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Like A Girl Project


An Empowering & Educational Art Exhibition of Strong & Inspiring Women, 

by Fer Caggiano

Girls and women continue to struggle to be respected in our male-dominated world. To act “like a girl” typically has meant to be passive, weak, silly, dumb, and other negative connotations. But girls and women must dare to dream - to be leaders, to be strong in mind, body and spirit – so that “like a girl” will instead mean powerful and highly effective. The exhibition’s primary objective is to bring awareness to this timely and critical issue, in order to stimulate discussion and ultimately drive change in attitudes and actions. Through portraits of diverse fascinating women, each with unique and inspiring stories, girls and other women will see on canvas their potential: they can be strong, smart, and beautiful, and ready to make their mark on the world. 

Just as important, men and boys will be educated about girls’/women’s abilities, particularly in traditionally male-dominated fields such as technology, construction, business, and science. The exhibit will lead the audience to consider questions such as: Can females really be anything they want to be? Despite positive strides in the past few decades, what hindrances does society still impose on them? What obstacles do they encounter that men/boys do not? How can we ensure that future generations of women can become leaders in any industry or field?

In addition to bringing awareness and encouraging ongoing dialogue, “Like a Girl: Dare to Dream” will directly empower girls and women. A portion of the proceeds from this project will be donated to organizations that support women/girls in reaching their maximum potential, thus extending the project’s impact well beyond its exhibition.

This exhibition will honor the influential voice of art in shining a light on vitally important issues. The portraits certainly will have broad appeal as works of beauty, with original designs that highlight and bring to life the women’s extraordinary accomplishments. However, the large and striking portraits simultaneously will touch the minds and hearts of audiences of all ages, genders, races, socioeconomic status, and locales. Through this artwork bringing attention to women who have excelled, other women and especially young girls will have dynamic role models that they can aspire to follow. The paintings will enlighten all who view them.

The exhibit will consist of 30 to 50 portraits, each a 30"x 40” oil painting. It also will include copies of an art book comprised of all the paintings with individual biographical stories of the participating women. I also plan to produce a video of selected participants discussing their challenges and accomplishments. In addition, an evening reception will include presentations from some of these inspiring women, and will offer the public the opportunity to meet the portrait subjects in person. 

A few of the many remarkable women in “Like a Girl: Dare to Dream” include: Allison Arriola; Barbara Ashe; Janet Bates,  President, Charleston Chapter, National Association of Women in Construction; Karen Lucht, retired NASA manager; Gabrielle Forgione, Girls Who Code; Yeakia Johnson; Yvonne Gilbert; Arianne King; Beth Ann Crane; Vicky Johnson; Tia Clark; Pixie Paula; Kelly Trager; Erin Mansour; Carol Wilhite; and Kenya Dunn. 

These women prove that women can, and will, achieve greatness … “like a girl”. With this project we will be educating the public – men and women alike - and of empowering girls and women to “dare to dream”!

Art and Event: 

20 to 50 portraits: 30"x40” oil paintings 

Art Book with the paintings and story of all women in this project. 

Reception evening and speech from some of these inspiring women.

Venue yet to be decided. 

Partners: The Power Filled Woman, Skirt Magazine, others to join.   

The biggest goal on this project is awareness, however, a percentage of the proceeds will go to female support associations such as “Women in Aviation”, “Women in Construction” and “Girls who Code”.


Janet Bates

President of Women in Construction

Art selected for the 9 Muses exhibition at the

R.W. Norton Art Gallery

4747 Creswell Avenue

Shreveport, Louisiana 71106

Gabrielle Forgione

My youngest model. Gabrielle is involved with Girls Who Code. Programming is a mostly male dominant field and she is outstanding at coding.

I have decided to add a glow in the dark ink to resemble a computer screen.


Karen Lucht

Former NASA employee with some outstanding accomplishments. 

Currently works for Make a Wish foundation.

Watch this Interview with Karen regarding her Space Shuttle Transition and Retirement project at NASA.


Artist Statment:

I have been described as “creative and compassionate, as colorful and compelling” as my paintings, and my work has been showcased worldwide.  “Like a Girl: Dare to Dream” is a project born from my passion to do more than just capture beauty in my paintings; these portraits serve a higher purpose of bringing awareness to a critical issue, and by doing so, they help to create a more equitable world for all. 

My early life in Brazil was driven by two strong desires: creating art and protecting the world.  As an adult, I came to realize that my art can shine a light on matters that deserve attention. A four-year spiritual journey redirected and grounded me with a new purpose of serving humanity rather than gaining fame. I am still driven, but my childhood desires have strengthened and matured. 

Now living in Charleston, South Carolina, I consistently use art as a voice and vehicle for change as well as a means of bringing joy to others. I am restless with a sense of indignation at injustices in the world, and thus my work supports philanthropic efforts such as protecting the environment through reforestation. This is how the project “Like a Girl: Dare to Dream” came to life. Thinking, feeling and acting “like a girl” should be something to aspire to, it should mean that one is strong and intelligent and able to achieve greatness.  My art can enlighten others to the need to empower girls and women to reach their full potential; it can inspire them to act toward positive change. 

While I am happy to offer my clients a window to a scene where their minds can find joy and peace, art has always also been used to tackle difficult subjects and ideas. Art is all about creating a shift in someone’s mind. If a person is uneasy, art can bring peace. If someone feels stagnant, art can make him/her move. This exhibition will create movement in audience’s hearts and minds; it will engage men, women and children in dialogue about the present and future roles of girls and women. It also will directly support efforts to empower girls/women because part of the proceeds of the project (including the planned book) will be donated to organizations that help girls/women.  People’s lives will be enriched by viewing these dramatic and beautiful paintings and at the same time, people will gain satisfaction from knowing that they are improving our world.

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