Artist Kristen Visbal//Photo by Rebecca of SunnybrookPhoto.com
As day dawns on the one-year anniversary of the unveiling of my “Fearless Girl” statue in New York City, I am contemplating the past year and how my own message as an artist has evolved. On Nov. 30, 2016, I received an image of a tiny girl standing Wonder Woman-style in front of New York City’s iconic Wall Street Bull. Could I design a statue and build it in clay by December 31? As it turns out, I could—and it was going to be so much fun.
Visbal’s “Fearless Girl” statue in downtown
My mission when I initially received this proposal was simply to celebrate women through my art in time for International Women’s Day on March 8. What ensued after the statue was unveiled was a firestorm of excitement, conversation and media attention that circled the globe and ultimately presented the public with this undeniable fact: Men and women are more profitable together. Leave either gender out of the equation, and you’ll lose your leading edge.
Thousands of emails have poured in this year. Women wrote to say they had tattooed the “Fearless Girl” statue on their bodies. Men requested reproductions to inspire the women in their lives. People wanted to film her for their movies; include her photo in their books. One mother wrote that “Fearless Girl” looked just like her daughter who died in a tragic accident. Another pledged to take her daughter, who stands to permanently lose her eyesight, to see the statue in person before that happens.
Men, women and children of every color and creed line up every day to take a photo with “Fearless Girl.” It’s been a thrill to watch all these people—smiles on their faces, shoulders thrown back, chests puffed out. Some link their arms with hers; others strike their own powerful poses.
Originally slated as a four-day promotion, our girl remains on Wall Street a year later as a testament to the need for a meaningful symbol of equality. She ignites courage—courage to be who you really are, courage to stand up to the “bulls” in your life, courage to speak out for what you believe in.
Who knows what she will inspire tomorrow?