Maggie Stern: Sock Art Celebrates the “Sole” of America

My socks celebrate women who have changed the world for the better and never gave up fighting for what they believed in: justice, honor, the right to vote, equal rights. I started with a stitched design featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who I wanted to honor because she is one of the great champions of equality in our time. Later, that stitched design turned into a manufactured sock.

MAGGIE STERN AND PHOEBE AT WORK

A children’s’ book writer, folk artist, and founder of Maggie Stern Stitches, a sock company featuring Stern’s illustrations of notable women — from Maya Angelou to Greta Thunberg to Gloria Steinhem.  On the sole of each sock Maggie stitches a quotation from the featured woman:  “I hope that their words inspire the wearer as much as they inspire me.”  A portion of the proceeds from sales goes to women’s organizations and other foundations whose work aligns with the ambitions of my heroes.  

Maggie Stern Stitches is a woman-owned and operated small business and we depend on our community, just like our community depends on us. With that in mind, MSS donates socks and proceeds from sock sales to non-profit organizations that respond to our world’s most urgent needs.

Feeding America 

The Feeding America network is the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Together with individuals, charities, businesses and government they are working to end hunger in America.

First Responders Children’s Foundation

First Responders Children’s Foundation provides financial support to both children who have lost a parent in the line of duty as well as families enduring significant financial hardships due to tragic circumstances. First Responders Children’s Foundation also supports, promotes, and facilitates educational activities and programs created and operated by law enforcement and firefighting organizations whose purpose is to benefit children or the community at large.

COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO

The COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO (World Health Organization) is leading and coordinating the global effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic, supporting countries to prevent, detect and respond and insure all countries are prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems.

Delivering Good

Delivery Good distributes new product donations made by hundreds of companies in the fashion, home and children’s industries, creating a simple and effective way to bring brand new merchandise to people in need across America.

Project Place

Project Place promotes a community of hope and opportunity for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the skills, education and resources needed to obtain and sustain employment and housing in the Boston area.

350

An international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all, and creating a future that is just, prosperous, equitable and safe from the effects of climate change.

To order socks. . .

National Museum of Women & The Arts 

The LPTW Gilder/Coigney International Theatre Award

At a time when international diplomacy is challenged, we are proud of the role that artists play as cultural diplomats and the creative, educational, non-political dialogue that is engendered through programs such as The International Award, produced by
The League of Professional Theatre Women.

~ Joan D. Firestone & Frances McGarry
Co-Chairs, 2020 G/C International Award

GC ImageThe League of Professional Theatre Women established an international award in 2011 named after two legendary women in the theatre, Rosamond Gilder and Martha Coigney, who opened opportunities across borders. Presented every three years, the award acknowledges the exceptional work of women internationally with the goal of amplifying their voices across borders and across the globe, highlighting their work as cultural diplomats.

Odile Gakire Katese (2011, Rwanda), Patricia Ariza (2014, Colombia), and Adelheid Roosen (2017, The Netherlands) were our first three winners.

We are seeking LPTW Members, international affiliates, and national and international cultural and artistic leaders to nominate an outstanding theatre woman working outside the U.S.

Nominees are evaluated on five criteria. They must have achieved artistic excellence, particularly in the exploration of new forms of theatrical expression; have received recognition of their work at home and abroad; demonstrate a commitment to the support of women through theatrical practice; have a body of work that inspires and educates US theatre practitioners with new ideas from abroad; and be able to leverage greater recognition and opportunity via receipt of the G/C Award.

The G/C Award includes a $1000 cash prize and all travel expenses to New York City for the recipient to be honored. A series of special events surround the award ceremony to showcase the winner’s work, to provide artistic and professional networking opportunities, and to celebrate all of the nominees. The next Award will be presented on October 20, 2020 at The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center/CUNY.

2020 Nomination Form (Google Form)

2020 Nomination Form (Word Document; Downloadable)

Formulario de Nominación 2020 en Español

2020 Nomination Flyer

Nomination Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Information about the 2014 Gilder/Coigney Award

Information about the 2017 Gilder/Coigney Award

Questions? Email: InternationalAward@TheatreWomen.org

Check out this article on HowlRound! A League of Their Own: League of Professional Theatre Women’s International Theatre Award

It’s All A Game: an interview with Erin Cronican, Executive Artistic Director, The Seeing Place Theater

The take away for audiences who come to see The Maids is to “make people stop and think about how they treat people, particularly people who are in service; that our society is built on people in service positions and we can treat people with humanity . . . to understand what it’s like to be ‘less-than’ and to walk out with a new found empathy for those in the service industry.”

Gaia Visnar, Erin Cronican

Gaia Visnar and Erin Cronican Photo credit Russ Rowland

“The Game — can we continue with it?” a question posed in The Maids, an absurdist play by Jean Genet is not so remotely detached from the current complicity confronting both American and global citizens. Pretending to strangle their employer, Claire and Solange, sisters and maids to Madame, struggle for their sense of selves under the guise of a game of make-believe; at first, the fantasy is amusing but then turns darkly tragic for the women who find themselves prisoners of their own diversion.

 

Produced by The Seeing Place Theater, Executive Artistic Director Erin Cronican exposes the dilemmas associated with the abuses of power in the class system. Selecting plays rarely seen, Cronican chooses to utilize her theater programs to focus on “creating edgy and compelling reinterpretations of works by playwrights that reflect the struggles and triumphs of our current society.” Honing a three-phase methodology, Cronican guides the ensemble through an organic two-month process: Pre-Rehearsal “Discovery”; Rehearsal Inquiry; Performance Feedback. One full month is spent “just breaking down the play, talking about it, talking about its impact on society, and what the playwright is trying to say, what he’s trying to do.” The Maids has its singular challenges in that there “are no definitive texts or quotes to pull together the things that have been written . . . hours were spent exploring the play’s meaning.” Once the ensemble creates a vision for its production they then proceed to getting it staged. Rather than have directors bring their singular perceptions to the play, Cronican’s approach invests in the imaginations of its talented cast — Gaia Visnar as Claire, Christine Redhead as Madame. “We don’t have the directors do it separately,” explains Cronican, who serves in both roles as actor/ Solange and director, “[that way] the actors are part of that developmental process.” Once the cast is “up on [their] feet trying out a lot of things discussed in the pre-production period . . . by the time we get to performances we have plumbed the depths of these plays very, very personally, and I think that makes the play very different for our audiences because we know them so intimately.”

The outcome of this organic process compels the cast to answer the major dramatic question: What is the effect of the abuses of power in the class system? In its final performance phase “we want the audience to look at this and say, ‘I recognize this struggle of power, maybe not in my own life, but maybe I recognize it elsewhere and what do we do about it?’”
Gaia Visnar personally shared how “it speaks to me today because . . . [as an immigrant working in the USA on a VISA] it’s about being subordinate and not having power and not being fair.” Cronican adds how artists pursuing their art, be it music, dance, theater feel a sense of “helplessness . . . being an artist in the city, wanting to take care of people but not necessarily have the resources to do so.”

At the close of the fast and furious hour and twenty-minute performance, actors go in the lobby to address audience questions so they “have someone to talk to about what they saw.” Feedback has been favorable: “People so far have really loved the play.” Audiences are encouraged to “come up with the answers for themselves.”

The take away for audiences who come to see The Maids is to “make people stop and think about how they treat people, particularly people who are in service; that our society is built on people in service positions and we can treat people with humanity . . . to understand what it’s like to be ‘less-than’ and to walk out with a new found empathy for those in the service industry.”

For Erin Cronican, the Arts truly are transformative. “‘The Seeing Place’ is the literal translation of the Greek word for theater, theatron: ‘the place where we go to see ourselves’ and if we can open up our [hearts and minds] and really listen to a piece of art, and try to find [ourselves] in it — painting, music, dance, that’s everything; then it opens your heart . . . it opens up your empathy. And it just makes you a better citizen.”

TSP The Maids