portrait gallery gala honors women over 50 | Arts: Characteristic

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(Photo by Michelle Beaumont Owens)

Jan Froeschle is a ballroom dancer and healthy lifestyle advocate.

Local women over 50 will be honored with the unveiling of an inspiring project celebrating their stories and wisdom.

The first Wise Women: 50 Over 50 Experience is coming to Tucson, thanks to Michelle Beaumont Owens, owner of Artifact Photography Studio. As the project’s photographer, stylist and interviewer, her vision is to spotlight 50 local women over 50 and recognize their experience, individuality and power through a collection of creative portraits.

The gallery of their photographs will be unveiled at the Wise Women: 50 Over 50 portrait gala from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, October 13, alongside the release of a portrait magazine showcasing each participant’s individual story.

“Women our age are taking their own power, and we’re doing things in our community and in our personal lives to really change the lives of people around us,” Owens said.

“I wanted to capture that and really shine the spotlight on these women and talk about the amazing things they’re doing, and also find out what their aspirations are, what’s left on their to-do list and what they would like to accomplish. else in the second half of their life.”

The Wise Women: 50 Over 50 Portrait Gala will be held at the Savoy Opera House at 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road in Tucson. The portraits will be illuminated and displayed on easels with the women present to mingle and chat.

The event will include a buffet dinner, dessert and a hostless bar with cocktails, wine, beer and soft drinks.

Entertainment includes dance music from DJ Jonas Hunter and magic from master illusionist Rodney Housley. There will also be a special raffle for a makeover, photo shoot and portrait portfolio with Owens valued at $1,200.

Gala tickets are available at eventbrite.com.

The Wise Women: 50 Over 50 Experience is one of many events around the world influenced by Forbes magazine’s 2021 National List led by Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski. It spotlighted 50 influential women over 50 who are challenging the idea that their golden years are behind them.

Owens was inspired to take on a project in Tucson by her own life-changing experience opening her photography studio at the age of 50. While photographing other women in their 50s and older, she met many in the midst of drastically changing their lives and wanted to explore this common theme.

Through networking and extensive referrals, she gathered women from all over southern Arizona, including Tucson, Oro Valley, Vail, Benson, and Bisbee. One of the participants is Carlotta Flores, chef of the El Charro restaurant group in Tucson, who was on Forbes’ Vision 2021 list.

Owens began photo shoots in January 2020, with the final interview ending in September 2022.

“There’s this myth that once we’re over 50, we’re kind of overwhelmed,” she said. “These women are fun. They make a difference in our communities. Some of them have created non-profit organizations, others are working on their own business. Some are retired and take up art projects and do other things in their spare time.

“I really wanted to show the drive these women have and how much more we are all ready and giving at this time in our lives.”

The 50 by 50 experience is not a “cookie cutter project”. To capture their true selves, Owens allowed each woman to drive her photoshoot and explore different sides of her character through clothing, makeup, and props.

The resulting gallery features a unique representation of each woman. Some have incorporated their pets, careers, hobbies or significant treasures into their portraits. Others asked for their photos to be enhanced with digital art – one woman even depicted a phoenix rising from the flames.

“There are layers of meaning in these photographs that make them deeply personal to these women, and I think that will also show and expose,” Owens said. “I think viewers will be able to see that and grab it.”

She also said she believes the photographs are “inherited images” for women and that subsequent generations in their families will be able to feel connected and see their personalities.

“I want to capture images in which we dedicate time, effort and careful attention to detail, so that they stand the test of time and become part of our legacy that we leave behind,” said Owens said.

The project received rave reviews from its female participants, along with considerable interest in Owens tackling another collection of 50 out of 50 local women. As a result, she is considering the idea of ​​making it an annual event.

She plans to start a group offering hangouts, meetups and other events throughout the year as opportunities for women over 50 to connect and build community.

Owens hopes the group will appeal to a younger audience, as she feels they would benefit from socializing with accomplished, driven women.

Wise women: 50 out of 50 Portrait gala

WHEN: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, October 13

WHERE: Savoy Opera House, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road, Tucson

COST: Tickets start at $45

INFORMATION: the50over50experience.com

Julia P. Cluff