Suffolk Law School’s Adams Gallery currently features an exhibition titled “Boston: Inspirational Women.” The photographers, Bill and Kerry Brett, recently released a book by the same name; the book Boston: Inspirational Women and the exhibit are celebrations of vital women in and around the Boston area who have been influential and involved in public affairs during their lifetimes.
Bill Brett, the father of Kerry, has been a photojournalist for nearly 50 years and has won awards for his work. He spent a large part of his career at The Boston Globe, where he started when he was only 18 and has since been appointed director of photography twice. Since he left the Globe in 2001, Brett has written four books. Kerry Brett is a staff photographer for the Improper Bostonian, and she has been with the magazine for 17 and years counting. She worked for her father for six years at The Boston Globe and has had work featured in New York Magazine and Boston Globe Magazine, among others.
The two collaborated on Boston: Inspirational Women to create a meaningful demonstration of the power and influence of local women. The exhibit, on display until January 6, features dozens of brilliant black and white photographs which feature the familiar style of the Improper Bostonian covers.
Each photograph is accompanied by the subject’s story and background. The Inspirational is about much more than professional photography; it is for the women featured in the photographs. Every woman has a story to tell, and those selected for display in the exhibit have influenced everything from pop culture and the media to the education and health care systems. The exhibit features construction workers, mothers, activists, public servants, actresses, and many more.
Easily recognizable inclusions were actresses Uma Thurman and Eliza Dushku, mother Alma Wahlberg of Dorchester, TV personality Rachael Ray, and comedian Rachel Dratch.
However, fame bears no weightier importance in a room full of influential and strong women. Lesser known, though equally notable women featured remarkable stories of philanthropy and hard work.
Phyllis Godwin, the president and CEO of Granite City Electric got her start years ago in her father’s electrical supply business. Diane Patrick, first lady of Massachusetts, advocates education as a major policy interest and is on the Board of the Posse Foundation, an organization that supports students who wish to attend college. Tiziana C. Dearing is the first CEO of Boston Rising, an organization that fights poverty in Boston. Mary L. Reed’s mother founded Boston’s first minority-owned daycare in 1946, and today Reed works for an organization that provides early care and education for low-income families.
Each story is just as interesting and empowering as the next and the exhibit encourages a stronger appreciation for the women who strive to make Boston strong and accessible. Almost every woman featured was involved with a philanthropic organization or had worked hard to secure a position in the higher tiers of the work force. Though glass windows covered one wall of the exhibition, the exhibit made it clear that the glass ceiling has shattered.