The year 2020 became synonymous with “visual acuity” (20/20 numerator referring to distance and denominator to size). As long as I can remember, 2020 represented the “year of vision” a time where there was clarity of purpose. It was a milestone year, grounding and impermeable. So much so that at the close of 2019 while toasting our amazing creative team, I referenced 2020 as the “metaphor” for ELYSIAN’s clear vision and focus.
Covid-19 has reshaped our lives with an uncertainty and impact that is still unknown. How ironic that I once used the term 2020 in the context of representing “normal” (eyesight) when nothing could have adequately prepared us for the aberrance of 2020 and beyond. ELYSIAN has re-evaluated and re-tooled to meet these changing times. Critical self-evaluation, which to a large extent prescribes creativity, also defines the human spirit. It has given us the opportunity to rebuild our own legacy.
Perhaps for women most of all, creativity has been a means to challenge the status quo and pursue self-realization. Within the souls of creative women has always been the strength to push through the impenetrable.
It is to this very strength that we dedicate the Creators Issue. To the women who write the songs that make our hearts sing, perform where none before have ever danced, design the spaces in which we raise our families, entertain us with their breadth of character portrayals, or even craft the beautiful gems around necks that we so admire, we recognize you.
Inspiring women. (Anecdotal stories)
Each edition of ELYSIAN breaks new ground with its inspiring stories about exceptional women. Our Inspiring Women for this Creators Issue include Grammy award-winning Diane Warren, groundbreaking ballet dancer Debra Austin, Platform CEO Siri Garber and film score coordinator Lola Debney.
Every year it is also my privilege to select one Non-Pareil among the many women interviewed, someone whose body of work represents matchlesss excellence. Grammy award-winning songwriter, musician and record producer Diane Warren transcends influence and impacts the creative world exponentially, oftentimes lauded as the most successful songwriter of our time. Composing for Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Aerosmith, and Beyoncé, to name a few, her relentless creativity makes her an icon to be recognized and celebrated. Diane’s anecdotal stories reflect wisdom and encourage everlasting perseverance.
Likewise, the life story of American ballet dancer Debra Austin, first African American female dancer at the New York City Ballet, first African American female principal dancer at a major American ballet company (Pennsylvania Ballet) and soloist at Zurich Ballet (Switzerland), inspires us all with her abounding talent, passion and dedication.
With no experience but supreme confidence and determination, Siri Garber created Platform PR. Her personalized attention to her clients has garnered her success in a world dominated by men. Although trained as a nurse, Lola Debney found her niche behind the scenes, managing family, home and the career of her husband, award-winning composer John Debney. Her “esprit de corp” touches us all through her words and actions.
Graceful living. (Deliberate, spirited and bold)
A beautiful composite of the life and career of American-born Greek soprano, Maria Callas, is our Retrospective. Maria personifies the qualities “deliberate, spirited and bold.” One of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century, Callas was praised for her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations.
This issue also features the story of artist Judy Chicago whose life’s work has expanded boundaries for women in both art communities and the world as a whole for over five decades.
World-renowned designer Édéenne also appears in this issue, showcasing her brilliant pieces of jewelry as a marketer-turned-artisan.
Finally, gracing our cover is Parsons School of Design student and aspiring interior designer Haley Hudson. Haley’s quiet elegance completes the ELYSIAN circle.
Philanthropy (Impact giving, creating legacy)
In the season of reflection and change, we encourage purposeful giving. Nationally, one in four women has been a victim of some act of violence, but the numbers are incalculable amidst the global pandemic. It is timely to refocus on ELYSIAN IMPACT’s vision to eradicate violence against women and children. In that spirit, we ask that you support your local Domestic Violence and Children Advocacy centers. Now more than ever, some of the few outlets survivors of abuse have for respite are being taken away.
As ELYSIAN Creators we are tasked with mobilizing our individual passion and strength to persevere. We seek to inspire our readers through our pages with both words and robust visuals. Thank you for sharing in life’s journey we walk together.
To 2021 and beyond, wishing you everything inspiring, creative and beautiful. Stay safe and well.