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The event will include a panel discussion and meet and greet with the artist and women involved, as well as an opportunity to view the portraits in an interactive manner. Westgate has been photographing North Shore families for over six years, but her true passion has always been championing and advocating for women. After almost two years of observing, photographing, and interviewing women doing meaningful work and/or pursuing their passions, Westgate paired her portraits with each woman’s words to tell stories of strength, perseverance, determination, and the power of the human spirit. Grit & Grace will be on display at the Hamilton/Wenham public library from May through June, and includes portraits of educators, entrepreneurs, artists,  a police sergeant, and a firefighter.

“I remember meeting Kristine Ellis a few years ago at a mother/daughter book club. She talked with the girls about her work and dressed in her full gear, including ventilator,” commented Tracey. “I was so inspired seeing young girls (and most of the moms!) captivated by what this work means for Kristine. From then, an idea was born; all of the women featured either live in Hamilton-Wenham or hold a position deeply rooted in the community.”

From Kristine Ellis: “As individuals, we all have our strengths and challenges, and I am blessed to have always been treated as an equal in the Fire Department. But I recognize that being a woman in this field should be celebrated, and it’s great for our children to see a woman in any role she has selected for herself.”

Jan Dempsey, Director of the Hamilton-Wenham Library, says “As a cultural center of the community, our library’s gallery is the ideal place to highlight the work of a local artist showcasing the “grit and grace” of many women in the Hamilton-Wenham community. We look forward to the conversations this exhibit will spark!”

The panelists for the opening reception are as follows:

  • Anne Brainard, Owner/Founder, MOJO Coffee

  • Kristine Ellis, Hamilton Firefighter

  • Ariana McDonough, Senior Engineer Systems Engineering FATE (Future Affordable Turbine Engine) Program Lead, GE Aviation

  • Laura Studley, Yogi and Founder, The Village Oasis

  • Katie Vandi, Farmer, Meadowbrook Farms

The women of Grit & Grace include:

  • Erin Berrigan, Preschool Teacher, Christ Church

  • Anne Brainard, Owner/Founder, MOJO Coffee

  • Dr. Fiona Breslin, Emergency Room Doctor, Beverly Hospital

  • Diane Bucco, Wenham Town Clerk

  • Anjali Chitre, corporate attorney for John Hancock

  • Jan Dempsey, Director of Hamilton-Wenham Library

  • Kristine Ellis, Hamilton Firefighter

  • Roxana Frizzi, Concert Pianist and Piano Teacher

  • Nancy Henry, Founder and Owner, Garden Nana, local pet sitter

  • Katherine Hooper, Artistic Director of BoSoma Dance Company; Owner of BoSoma School of Dance

  • Lauren Kroesser, Owner and Chef, Honeycomb Bakery

  • Julie Lopes, Owner, Shirts Illustrated

  • Ariana McDonough, Senior Engineer Systems Engineering FATE (Future Affordable Turbine Engine) Program Lead, GE Aviation

  • Annika McKenna, Owner and Founder of Sea Salt Designs

  • Laura Studley, Yogi and Founder, The Village Oasis

  • Olivia Rugo, Fisheries Outreach Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries

  • Jessica Spong, Family Partner, Lahey Health Behavioral Services

  • Alison Standley, Bus Driver

  • Devan Tyack, Owner and Founder, Devan’s Canine and Equine Services; Board Member,Baby Bluebonnet Equine Rescue

  • Katie Vandi, Farmer, Meadowbrook Farms

  • Sergeant Karen Wallace, Hamilton Police Department