Maybe you have only heard of one of these people. Maybe you have heard of both. Maybe you’re wondering why I would put the two of together. I spent today in New York City for two simple reasons — Andy Warhol and Debbie Phillips. When I originally planned this day in New York, I didn’t see any connection between these two amazing individuals. Yet at the end of the day, I am blown away by their similarities.
This morning I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see a preview of their new exhibit, Andy Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. The goal of the exhibit was to showcase and examine Warhol’s impact on the art community. The exhibit includes some of Warhol’s most famous works alongside art inspired or influenced by the same themes, technique, or topic. It presents a compelling argument for Warhol’s place in art history. It is clear that he inspired and mentored, directly and indirectly, a whole generation of artists. While his goal was simply to create art, he actually created a new community of artists.
This brings me to Debbie Phillips. The founder of Women on Fire touches lives in the same way. Through tea parties, monthly online chats, and yearly retreats, she creates these amazing opportunities for women to come together and create community. This community is unlike so many available for women in our modern world because the women actually listen to each other. There is no judgement; the environment is filled with love and support. As someone who only joined in the fall of 2011, I can honestly say that this community is life-changing. Like the young artists who had the chance to work with Warhol, being a part of the Women on Fire community and near Debbie enriched my life and allowed me to grow and bloom into the woman that I am now. I still have more growth ahead of me, but I know that I am on the right track.
While it might be difficult for me to imagine a museum creating an exhibit to showcase Debbie’s influence, I can assure you that her impact is as profound as Andy Warhol’s.