Lori’s Story

“You always need a “why.”

“The tears look the same, but the emotions vary. Some of them cry tears of joy. Others cry tears of sadness or tears of being overwhelmed. It’s amazing what happens to the girls after they are acknowledged. One woman was apprehensive about participating. She felt self-conscious, being my subject matter, unworthy of such recognition. She said she felt awkward in the spotlight. When it was complete, the same woman told me the portrait looked like her and felt like her. A domestic abuse victim was speechless when she saw her portrait with the words ‘I will not remain silent.’ I knew I was on to something important.

The Girl Noticed murals encourage three things in women: hope, empowerment, and self-esteem. I created this community mural and arts outreach project to draw attention to the special gifts of girls and women. I use charcoal: a temporary medium that creates a sense of urgency and compels people to see the mural before it fades away. People wonder why I take all the time and effort to create a portrait, only to have it washed away. The fleeting component is by design. It is a reminder to notice these girls now while you have the opportunity. Girl Noticed is about recognizing women and about acknowledging your window of opportunity.

Growing up, I always wanted to be an artist. My parents wanted me to learn how to type. Because I was a girl, they saw my career opportunities as more limited than those of boys. Although my mother still thinks that ‘boys will be upset because they are not included in what I am doing,’ she now understands my drive to do this woman-centered project.

I started working as a billboard painter long before computers replaced the art of scaling images. I used to put up one section of a billboard at a time and I learned how to work quickly. Those skills help me now with my large format portraits. I returned to painting when my twins got older and soon others asked me to paint for them. Then, I created Girl Noticed because I was searching for work with a higher purpose. So far, I have been recognized in fourteen states for more than 50 portraits of women. My goal is to create portraits of women in all 50 states.

My next mural project will not be temporary. Instead, I will create 15 portraits of Holocaust survivors who live in Broward County. I grew up in Philadelphia with many Jewish friends. I know their customs, their food, and their culture, and I know the Holocaust story. I want to tell these women’s stories of survival through their portraits. It will be a traveling show displayed at synagogues, maybe at local Jewish Federations, perhaps at the Museum of Tolerance, and possibly at different Holocaust museums. I dream big. These portraits will not be temporary and my plan is to give them to the girls when the tour is over. The population of Holocaust survivors is dwindling. Just as my other murals will eventually fade, there is a sense of urgency to see and notice these women now, before their generation also fades away.”

One thought on “Lori Pratico: Hope, Empowerment & Self Esteem

  • Monica pedemonteDecember 2, 2019 at 1:46 am

    In salute to woman who care deeply and help the rest of take notice of those that are not heard well enough.

    Reply

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