School of Doodle Is Closing the Gender Gap in the Art Industry
Teenage girls’ interests and hobbies—or rather, things our society associates with teenage girls—are rarely taken seriously. Anything from selfies, to blogging, to the puppy filter on Snapchat is immediately regarded as vapid once people realize it’s primarily popular among—and in most cases, has been popularized by—teenage girls. In recent years, there has been a massive (and vital) push to get women into the male-dominated world of STEM: young girls are being encouraged to learn to code, to close the gender gap and pursue careers in “hard science” fields like engineering and tech. Rarely, however, are they encouraged to break into the art world—a field that’s just as, if not more, male dominated than the field of STEM.
Enter School of Doodle, an online, arts-oriented “school” run by girls, for girls. Doodle is the brainchild of creative entrepreneur Molly Logan, who previously worked as a curatorial assistant for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and under legendary fashion photographer Richard Avedon.
Originally envisioned as a “Khan Academy for the arts,” Doodle is a part-online school, part-social network where girls can learn technical and creative skills through online tutorials, in-person workshops, and instructive or personal essays—and it’s completely free.
Logan and her co-founder, film producer and philanthropist Sybil Robson Orr, raised the initial funds needed to launch and maintain Doodle through a highly popular Kickstarter campaign that began in July 2014. Since then, they’ve raised over $100,000 and received some seriously A-list support from professionals including Marina Abramović, Samira Wiley, Sia, and Yayoi Kusama. The fact that Doodle is completely free is a huge deal in and of itself—but it’s especially important given that public schools across the country are slashing their arts education funding, particularly in low-income areas, while pouring funds into more technically-oriented fields. Although there’s a serious lack of women in STEM fields, girls are also severely lacking in the art world: according to a 2014 study on the “Gender Gap” in the arts, only 30 percent of artists represented in NYC and LA galleries are women.
“We feel very strongly that without the support of the arts, these STEM spaces of innovation will suffer significantly,” Logan said in an interview with The Cut. “No imagination = no innovation, simple.”
School of Doodle partially relies on contributions from its 75 teen ambassadors, six teen editors, and 32 teen content creators; the school also receives support from dozens of professional creative women, including Yoko Ono, Miranda July, Arianna Huffington, and the members of Pussy Riot—who run programs and workshops where teenage girls can gain the knowledge they need to get ahead in the creative world.
Doodle’s focus is primarily, if not exclusively, centered on teenagers. “When teens, and girls in particular, enter high school, their confidence begins to wane, leading to a ‘Confidence Gap’ in women,” Logan told Dazed Digital. “The sooner we begin fortifying girls and giving them the tools to build their confidence, the better chance they have of succeeding in the future on their own terms.”
Recent content includes online artists’ challenges with lyrics-writing (led by Kim Gordon) and with combatting insecurity (led by Miranda July), tips for studying with mental illness by teen Ambassador Jade, and a “Be Loud” mixtape by Chippy Nonstop and teen Ambassador Rhi Blossom. Doodle is a truly multidimensional, multi-platform service where teen girls can not only learn necessary art skills, but also showcase their own work to a supportive audience. Most importantly, although its workshops and lessons are primarily digital, Doodle teaches girls the skills they need to succeed IRL.
Images via School of Doodle.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on gender equality.