All About MICA

What’s the story behind MICA?

Image of framed photographs of pregnant women.

Pregnancy Series, Katie Russo. Image courtesy of Arts Equity Group.

Our Mission

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….And sometimes perform with her kid on her lap…


Courtney Castaneda, of FIZZI!, with her daughter at MICAfest 2022. Photographer: Heather Matys. Image Courtesy of MICA.

Future Endeavors

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Pop Up Performances

Multi-artistic events collaborating the many creative arts that mothers do.

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Gain skills and technical abilities in our workshops or teach one.

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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's Behind the Curtain?

Photo of Lyza Fennell at 33 Hawley Street, with stairs in background. 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.

MICA has a team of talented collaborators who help Founder, Lyza Fennell, bring MICA to life. She carefully selects a team of experts for each event to help with planning, production, curation, and marketing. She’s also grateful for the support of her mastermind group, mentors, and volunteers.

Image of Lyza Fennell, photographed by Carol Lollis for the Daily Hampshire Gazette.