About Women who build-Artists who own

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Women Who Build- Artists Who Own empowers women and girls by giving them tools for growth, networks for success, and confidence for perseverance.

The project involves women working together to learn how to build with their own hands--from learning how to use a saw, or a drill to installing flooring and beyond. Construction is an industry normally dominated by men, and learning how to construct a home, a creative workspace, or community garden empowers women by teaching them skills they can bring back to their communities.

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In neighborhoods across Brooklyn and Queens--from Long Island City to Bushwick, to Gowanus--Yvonne has noticed the lack of affordable places to create. In response to this, Women Who Build-Artists Who Own will center on working with community members on building a tiny house that will act as a community space for creativiity. Through working with people across communities to document the changing landscapes, Yvonne will engage in cross community/borough conversations to collectively come up with solutions to these local issues.

The tiny house will also be used as an observation laboratory. Yvonne, along with other community members, will record and document what they see while occupying this laboratory space: a place of observation and being observed. Each observer will be tasked with
observing a community outside their own. After each observation, there will be an open period to engage in dialogue, share findings, and discuss potential initiatives that can span across communities. This period will also be used to discuss and share expertise in how to build one's own workspace or home.

Follow Yvonne's project at the RPGA Studio website or on Facebook!

News and UPdates

Design of Tiny House

As part of the second phase of the project, Yvonne and her collaborators are now redesigning the interior of tiny house, which will take two parts: collaborative design/build and one-on-one connecting inside the installation once the build is completed.

Queens Museum Exhibit

The Queens Art Intervention is an initiative Yvonne started in Queens that consists of artistic community collaborations that happen every September over one or two weekends. This winter, The Queens Museum exhibited Yvonne's Fellowship project and commissioned interventions by her collaborators, with interactive installations that extend the work, impact, and longevity beyond the streets of Queens.

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Process Photos

Artist Bio

Yvonne Shortt is a mother, artist, mathematician, painter, designer, and educator. Ten years ago, she started engaging in work aimed at beautifying a neglected area of her community--an LIRR and DOT owned space that ran through the heart of her community, filled with tags, post cons, tires, rodents, and garbage bags. She transformed this area into an outdoor exhibition space for her community which included 3000 square feet of new sidewalk, new garbage cans, and fixes to the decaying wall. It cost $100,000 and ended up involving the local Council Woman, DOT, LIRR, DOS, two local public schools, and 200 community residents. She deemed it an "underpass exhibition space" to display the design and photographic work of the community, and represent what is possible through collaborative effort. 

Yvonne started out to beautify her neighborhood, but shifted her goal to empowering individuals and the collective community. She identifies her artistic mission as someone who partners with other artists, local officials, and community members and believes in tackling local issues collaboratively to lead to personal and collective growth.