The Hippo Press

The Hippo: New Hampshire’s Weekly: Summer 2011 Self-Expression
Summer of self-expression
AIR gives girls confidence through art

By Adam Coughlin
News – This summer about 45 young women from Rockingham and Stafford
counties will be empowered by the arts. This has been the mission of Arts in
Reach (AIR) for 15 years and it is impacting the lives of those who
participate. The organization began when two young women, just out of the
University of New Hampshire, wanted to share with others their love of art,
according to Leanne Stella, executive director of AIR. Kristin Forselius and
Amanda Tappan loved being exposed to art in college but felt they hadn’t
properly had arts training before that. This was something they wanted to
change for other young women, according to Stella. So Forselius and Tappan hit
the pavement and were able to raise $2,000, which was enough to fund a camp
for a dozen girls. “They took art trips and went to museums but they quickly

discovered something more was going on,” Stella said. What was happening
was the girls (who are 13 to 18 years old, with an average age of 15) gained
confidence and self-esteem quite quickly when they were exposed to both art
and each other. The mission evolved from simply exposing girls to art to
empowering teenage girls through mentoring and the arts…