During an art residency at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, I met a fellow female artist who has been a strong voice for abstraction in my recent work. She recommended NINTH STREET WOMEN by Mary Gabriel. Although the lives of these Ninth Street female abstract expressionist artists were entangled with much hardship, broken relationships, and scarcity, they also embodied courage, community, and clarity. Reading the stories of including Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler has inspired me to move beyond the sky, beyond the horizontal landscape and beyond the distinctive object. As a child I was clean, orderly, design-minded, in love with nature, amused by bold color and abstract shapes, and found freedom in full expression of my body and voice through musical theater. I hope that the courage of these Ninth Street women will take me to that childhood place of expressive awakening.