With a resume that lists stints in fashion, advertising, and museum exhibition direction, Dorrie Papademetriou had made a mark in the art world. But a burning desire to effect social change led Dorrie to meld her art and social awareness into the founding and direction of MudGirls Studios to help homeless women transition from poverty to self-sufficiency.
“MudGirls is a social enterprise to empower the women and help them earn a supplemental income. It’s really important for people to have a connection with each other. And when you are receiving payment for your work you are validated. Creating a piece outside yourself is also validation. It says, ‘I made this, I exist, I am here.’”
Housed in the former St. Michael’s School on Mississippi Avenue, the program uses the production of ceramic art pieces and their sale to create this sense of empowerment.
“We have a sense here of being part of a team, as well as earning some money to buy clothes, food, or a bus ticket. I started doing an outreach program at Adelaide’s Place (day shelter for homeless women). We’ve grown slowly, but I’d love to expand. This place will allow us to do that.”
Funding comes from sales, some donations, and a couple of small grants, but Dorrie admits that the group has far-reaching visions.
“I want to expand slowly, but I’d love to expand into a national market. I always joke with the ladies that they’re going to meet Oprah or maybe Ellen. We’re not ready yet, but one day I would like to take it to that point.”
MudGirls seems like just the kind of story that fits the Oprah and Ellen mold.
-John “Yonk” Rosnick