Origins: The Journey
Bold Beauty Project is a powerful, visual arts exhibition that features women with varying disabilities. Through the photographer’s lens and the women’s personal stories, the project seeks to raise awareness of the women’s strength, sensuality and spirit, and in the process, change perceptions of beauty. Bold Beauty Project (BBP) began in 2006 as Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty, a photography show that benefited the Center for Independent Living. Conceived by Shelly Baer, a licensed clinical social worker, and Vanessa Silberman, active in PR, their goal was to create a story of women with disabilities that would shatter all preconceived beauty paradigms.
Today the project continues with a new team and a new name. Dr. Eva Ritvo, a psychiatrist and co-author of The Beauty Prescription and board member of United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida, is committed to helping all women embrace their inner and outer beauty. Sharing the same passion, Eva and Shelly launched Bold Beauty Project in 2015 at the Anacostia Gallery in Washington, D.C., as a fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy. The photos were also displayed at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)’s annual conference in D.C., in the internationally recognized Art Palm Beach and Art Boca Raton Fairs and Art Serve’s exhibit on “Art as Healing Therapy” in Fort Lauderdale.
As you can see, we have a lofty mission. We are developing global “communities” of “bold beauties” and using social media to connect them. They will become role models for women who feel isolated by conventional media’s narrow depiction of beauty. We are impacting photographers by exposing them to new subjects and asking them to work collaboratively to create an image that is transformative for the models as well as the viewers. We are designing replication models so cities can host their own BBP exhibits. The power of this project is in using local community resources, models and photographers.
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