All About MICA
What’s the story behind MICA?
Pregnancy Series, Katie Russo. Image courtesy of Arts Equity Group.
Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA) is revolutionizing the way we celebrate mothers who are career artists by providing them with invaluable resources, support systems, and creative events that promote equity in the arts. We believe in creating inclusive spaces where all forms of artistic expression can thrive without barriers so that mother-artists everywhere can prosper. Our unique value proposition gives us a purpose—breaking down barriers to provide light in dark corners and hope to dreamers everywhere. With MICA as their beacon of hope, our mission is simple: empower all mothers through collaboration and art!
Let's Talk About It.
Being a mother brings great joys and great challenges. So, how does a mom who has to drop everything at any given moment make it in the arts? Women are underrepresented in art as it is.
We understand the many obstacles that get in the way for artistic mothers. She can’t just up and move. She has to make it where she’s rooted.
Pop Up Performances
Multi-artistic events collaborating the many creative arts that mothers do.
Gain skills and technical abilities in our workshops or teach one.
Find out the many ways mothers help each other out. We can do it together.
MICA is changing the goalposts.
Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA) is a mission-based arts organization dedicated to empowering mothers who are artists. Motherhood should not be a barrier to pursuing a career in the arts, and we are committed to creating a more equitable and inclusive creative economy.
Our focus at MICA is on events and exhibitions that showcase the work of mother artists. By providing a platform for these artists to share their work, we can raise awareness of their unique challenges and highlight the value of their contributions to the art world.
Our events and exhibitions are designed to be inclusive and accessible to everyone, regardless of background or circumstances. By creating a welcoming and supportive community, we can help to break down the barriers that have historically prevented mothers and other underrepresented groups from fully participating in the art world.
At MICA, we are committed to creating opportunities for mother artists to connect with each other and with industry professionals. By building networks and fostering collaborations, we can help to create a more vibrant and diverse creative community.
While we currently focus on events and exhibitions, we are always looking for ways to expand our offerings and provide more support to mother artists. In the future, we hope to provide resources and guidance on issues such as childcare and time management, as well as professional development opportunities and access to funding.
Our ultimate goal at MICA is to create a more equitable and inclusive art world where everyone has an opportunity to pursue their passions and contribute their unique talents and perspectives. By supporting mother artists, we can help to build a brighter future for everyone in the creative economy.
The purpose behind MICA is to create a network of artist-mothers who face obstacles in pursuing their passions while caring for their families. MICA provides a platform for these women to showcase their creativity through exhibitions, events, and festivals. Lyza Fennell recognized the need for such a community and embarked on a journey to bring MICA to life. She put together a team of supportive friends, including Elena Allee, and sought the advice of industry leaders to ensure the project’s success.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work and determination, MICA became a reality by mid-2022. The inaugural MICAfest in October 2022 provided an opportunity for artist-mothers to showcase and share their artistry in meaningful ways. Through MICA, these women have found a community of support and collaboration, empowering them to pursue their passions while balancing motherhood.
Who Are We?
Lyza Fennell, Managing Director
Lyza Fennell is an accomplished professional with diverse skills and experience across multiple industries. She is the Managing Director of Mothers Institute for Collaboration and Art (MICA), which she founded to empower moms and primary parents through the creative arts. In addition, she is also a co-owner of T-Ray Music, Inc, a music production company.
At T-Ray Music, Lyza handles a range of operational tasks, including managing finances, creating business plans and strategies, and securing grants. Her efforts have contributed to the company’s success, and she plays a key role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the business.
Lyza’s skill set and experience extend beyond music production, as she is also the Director of Operations for LawTutors. In this role, she manages important accounts, supervises operational procedures, and ensures the smooth functioning of the company.
Earlier in her career, Lyza managed a Betsey Johnson boutique on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where she achieved remarkable success. Her efforts increased sales revenue by 10-30% each month, and she contributed to the boutique’s visual merchandising, personal shopping, buying in the showroom, and assisting at fashion shows.
Lyza is an alumna of Smith College. While studying as an Ada Comstock Scholar, Lyza successfully secured a Magic Grant from the Helen Gurley Brown Foundation for Empowering Innovation to start MICA. Her drive, determination, and ability to overcome obstacles enable her to provide a unique, visually appealing, and culturally rich perspective to MICA’s mission of empowering women.
With her diverse skill set and unwavering dedication, Lyza is a valuable asset in all her roles. Her passion for creative arts and experience in various industries make her an exceptional leader and a valuable contributor to any organization.
Elena Allee, Art Consultant
Elena Allee is an artist, mom, chocolatier, and farmer, originally from New York City and Vermont, currently settled and working in Western Massachusetts, having arrived there via Oakland, the Central Coast, and Los Angeles, California, where, concomitant with her studio practice, she had a clothing label, designed theater sets, and ran a nightclub/alternative theater space among other endeavors.
Elena received her BA in English and Spanish literature, with a second concentration in art, from Bennington College, and her MFA in painting from The Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
After scaling back her studio work and time considerably for the last 16 years to focus on raising her type one diabetic kid as a single mom (and running two businesses to be able to afford this), Elena has finally been able to get back to more studio time in the last year and is currently working on a number of painting commissions and a series of large drawings of endangered species.
During the hiatus from her studio, she co-founded and co-directed a community education center and homeschooling co-operative, where she also taught art and writing. She is also co-owner of a local chocolate company in Western Massachusetts.