We are all grateful to Karen for her foresight in starting an organization that supports women both financially and emotionally.
In 1991, after a divorce, Karen Perry of Falmouth wanted a way to give more back to the community organizations that had been so supportive of her. As a silk painter and talented artist, she thought that gathering several of her artist acquaintances for a show might be an ideal way. A local non-profit organization would collect a small donation at the door while the artists would exhibit and sell their work. Seemed like a win-win situation!
Karen successfully started the first two shows in Portland, and following her lead, designing women has gradually expanded to include five premiere shows throughout Maine and New Hampshire. As a nonprofit volunteer corporation, our objective, in the last twenty years, has been to bridge art and community, sponsoring shows featuring female artisans from New England, and to work directly with organizations who benefit women and girls in the community.
Operating expenses for the shows come from the artisans. Proceeds from food sales and the $2.00 suggested door donations go directly to the participating non-profit groups, giving them an opportunity to raise awareness of their programs and to raise funds.
We strive to keep the shows fresh and to continue to give women artisans new opportunities to show their work.