AWNY Meet and Greet Program

Welcome to New York!  
If you have just arrived, or are on your way here, get connected in a New York minute with AWNY’s new Meet and Greet program.  Connecting with fellow Australian women in New York is a great way to make your transition easier.  

How does the Meet and Greet program work?  
As a new member of Australian Women in New York, fill out the form below and we will put you in touch with an existing AWNY member to meet up for a coffee, drink or walk in the park.  Any information on the form is optional.  It helps us match you up with someone who may be in a similar situation, or has the information that you’d like.  

How can the Meet and Greet program help me?
With over 50 women on the Committee, and thousands in the group, you can get specific advice and support for your life stage, including anything you want to know about career, family needs, entertainment, arts and leisure, entrepreneurial endeavors, and living in New York.  We find that although each of our situations is unique, we are not alone in wanting to be social and getting connected.  Relationships in this city are key.  When we’re connected, we are stronger and healthier.

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What happens after the initial meet-up?
An experienced fellow Australian woman will be there for you to answer questions and help you find your way around.  If you want, we can introduce and connect you to other like-minded women, or just stay connected so you know a friendly face at upcoming AWNY events.  Whatever it is that you’d like from your time in New York, we are here to help you make it all happen.

Help!  I’ve just arrived and wondering if I’ve made the right decision…
You might be feeling anything from happiness and excitement, to homesickness, frustration, and uncertainty – and these are all completely normal reactions.  We’ve noticed that connecting with fellow Australian women at the beginning of your time here is one of the best ways to make your transition easier.

How do I get started?
Fill out the new members form, and tell us a little about yourself.  We will put you in touch with an AWNY volunteer with similar interests who has experienced the transition of moving to and living in NYC.  Whether you want to discuss career opportunities, exploring the city’s cultural offerings, or raising kids in NYC, we are here to help you navigate New York life in all its depth and diversity.    

 

 

AWNY Startup Stories: Artist Fiona Maclean

Fiona Maclean has an impressive list of accomplishments as an artist, illustrator, and makeup artist for film/TV.  She shares the experiences that led to her becoming a visual artist—and, in the process, venturing from New Zealand to Australia and now New York City.

What brought you from Australia to New York?

I’m originally from New Zealand, but lived in Australia for many years and became an Aussie citizen 7 years ago. Bondi Beach was my home for many years. I met my partner in Sydney and we moved to NYC in 2005 when I won a place at Parsons School of Art doing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. My studies were cut short when my partner was diagnosed with advanced cancer and we moved back to Australia. He passed away, and I took over running his online marketing and advertising business for a number of years, putting my artistic career on hold. I closed the business a couple of years ago so as to reinvent and pursue my artistic career again.

It wasn’t until last year that I decided I wanted to return to the US. I secured the O1 visa for my artistic abilities and talents and am in the process of relocating to NYC in early 2018.

Tell us about these businesses and what inspired you to begin.

I had always wanted to get into the creative fields and had a real passion for fashion illustration, costume illustration, and makeup, as well as my first love of painting, portraits, and the human form.

I studied art and graphic art/design briefly in New Zealand and then moved to Sydney to complete a makeup artist course for Film/TV/Special Effects. At the same time as starting out as a freelance makeup artist, I was also pursuing my illustration career, working mainly regular freelance jobs in editorial, mostly fashion and beauty illustrations for Sydney magazines such as Elle, Cosmopolitan, Cleo, and Dolly, as well as work for corporate clients like Air New Zealand. 

I love fashion and wanted to use my illustrations as a way to get into the industry. While doing that, I was working as a makeup artist on feature films and in TV, such as Moulin Rouge, Mission Impossible and the Matrix trilogy.

 

What have been the hardest lessons in starting a business?

The sometimes inconsistency and the fact that the only one I can rely on is me to do the work, the networking, the ‘go sees’, etc.

Where have you been most successful in marketing your business?

Through social media mostly, particularly Instagram and Facebook. They are great platforms for visuals and expose a range of people to artists who may have limited marketing budgets.  I have been commissioned to paint portraits and paintings through people following me on Instagram and Facebook.

For the past two years, I have donated my art to the Breast Cancer Awareness Lunch fundraiser held by Riley Street Garage in Sydney. It’s a great way to get my art seen and contribute to a wonderful cause.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting a business?

You need to be disciplined and persevere. You also need some sort of ‘job’ or freelance-type job to fall back on if need be so you don’t end up putting so much pressure on starting out in a new career or business and in getting things up and running.

Other than yourself, what piece of Australia have you put into your business?

I bring to my artwork, my paintings and illustrations the kind of youth culture and freshness that is sometimes associated with Australia. I’ve painted quite a few paintings with Bondi Beach as the backdrop or the cafe culture that Australia is known for.

Tell us about your workspace.

I’m currently floating between countries so I don’t have a permanent studio, which has been a bit frustrating. Whilst living in Australia, I’ve had a home studio, and when visiting NYC, an artist friend gave me use of her studio in Brooklyn, which was such a luxury.

Fiona Profile pic 2

Credit: Keri Megelus

What are some of your biggest accolades in your art, illustration and makeup career to date?

I was chosen as an artist to watch among a strong emerging talent of artists in the ‘One to Watch’ series released by Saatchi. Winning a place at the prestigious Parsons School of Art (The New School). Being featured in fashion illustration books, such as Imagemakers: Cutting Edge Fashion Illustration. And working as a makeup artist on big feature films.

What is next for your business?

I’m hoping for an opportunity to work on upcoming feature films doing the costume illustrations, as well as getting makeup work on feature films/TV/commercials.

I’m also hoping to exhibit in both Australia and New York. I have a couple of commercial-type pieces that I want to start working on, which will be combining my painting with photography and mixed media.

My main focus this coming year is developing and cultivating my talents and skill set, so when one is a bit ‘slow’ I can gain work from one of the other skills I have as a freelancer.

Where can people view your artwork?

I have online portfolios of my artwork, illustrations and makeup work which can be found at the links below. I also sell through online gallery Saatchi https://www.saatchiart.com/MissFifiMaclean. I am available for commissions of paintings, illustration and freelance work doing Makeup, Illustration and Art.

Websitewww.fionamaclean.com (Fine art, illustration & film/TV makeup)

Websitewww.newyorkerbabe.com  (Illustration)

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/fifimaclean/

Facebook Artist Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/artistfionamaclean/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/FifiMaclean

 

 

Love this AWNY Startup Story? Want more?

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming Startup Stories event where you can hear more stories like this first hand and meet some of Aussie women entrepreneurs.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org 

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Twitter – https://twitter.com/AUWomenNYC 

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Are you an Australian female who owns a business in New York?

If you do and you want to tell us all about it, email us at awny@aaanyc.org

Event Review: Act like a New Yorker

DSC_1561Written by Kate Lee, Workshop moderator and AWNY Committee member

As I walked through Times Square to the rehearsal studio for our AWNY workshop, I got that NYC buzz – a heady mix of excitement and wonder as I make sure I don’t tread on or brush against anything that will make me want to burn my clothes later.  
Our studio space was small. It had scuffed walls and hadn’t been swept for perhaps a decade. I peeped into the spacious, airy room next door. The one with the polished floor and windows on two sides. I thought we’d booked this one. The large one with room enough for 15 people? No, you booked 703. Oh. Grit and grind of New York indeed. I arranged the space and put slips of paper on the table by the door. These were for people to write the challenges they’ve experienced in this city. I should have written, ‘separated by a common language.’ Later, I would use these slips for our improvisations. As people began to arrive, the familiarity of the accent, the sense of humor and that sun-shine-like Australian openness lit-up the room. It awes me all the time, the stories of women in New York. From one- to twenty-plus-years living here, each of us had different why’s, who’s and how’s of being in this city.
The workshop began by orientating ourselves in the space and to each other. Classic drama games such as mirroring and molding our bodies are great for this. The aim is to turn off the analytical brain and ‘tune’ ourselves to our own reactions as well as those who are in the room. We then created a series of tableaux that reflected images and feelings of New York life – finances, dating, confidence and speaking up at work. We then moved into the main activities known as Image Theater and Forum Theater. These processes come from a very well-known Brazilian practitioner called Augusto Boal. His ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’ is famous for its ‘spect-actor’ – the notion that the spectator is not a passive observer of the dramatic action. Rather, they become active participants by co-creating, directing and changing the outcomes. This means anyone can join an improvisation and try out different ways of getting what they want.
There is never a straight, nor clear outcome in these processes. In seeing one’s situation enacted in front of them, not only is a person’s feelings validated, but also the group becomes an active mechanism in supporting their process of addressing the challenge. Rather than thinking through a problem, participants get to physically see – and embody – solutions and new ways of being. There are no answers, but the rich discussions that follow draw from the collective knowledge of the group and remind us that we are not alone.
Act Like a New Yorker wasn’t about acting like a New Yorker. Rather, it was acknowledging the challenges that we, as Australians, encounter in this city. And by drawing from the experience of the group, we can see these challenges from a different perspective and perhaps find new ways of addressing them.

Don’t miss our next event

Register for our monthly newsletter and be kept in the loop for our upcoming events where you can meet likeminded Aussie women living and working in New York.

Blog – https://australianwomeninnewyork.org
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Event: Act Like A New Yorker – A workshop that digs into the grit and grind of living in New York City using acting, movement and improvisation, April 4

For many Australians, New York City is surprisingly different to what we expected. And it’s the little things, like the way we converse and our sense of humor. But some challenges feel bigger and more confronting – like that confidence and assertiveness that New Yorkers exude ….

Led by Kate Lee, Act Like A New Yorker is an interactive workshop that uses acting, movement and improvisation to tackle some of the challenges of living in the Big Apple. Using serious fun, this event aims to connect our experiences and find our own ways of being seen and heard in this big, noisy city.

Event Details

Date: Tuesday April 4, 2017
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
AddressStudios 150, 150 West 46th Street,  New York, NY 10036
Tickets: AWNY/AAA Members $15, Non-members $20
RSVP: Book here to secure your spot!

What is an AWNY/AAA Member? Find out more about membership and benefits.


Introducing Kate Lee – Event moderator & AWNY Committee Member

Kate Lee works between the fields of education, cultural development and cross-disciplinary performance.

DSC_1561Her experience is as extensive as the continents and communities she has worked with. Kate has made theater in remote Australia, studied Japanese performance systems and performed in a legendary Samurai town. She has told the Orestia to seven-year old’s and watched in amazement as they debated women’s rights, revenge and trial by jury. She’s collaborated with scientists, mentored students, danced with people experiencing Cerebral  Palsy, made films with seniors, taught drama in some of the toughest schools in New York City, and used drama for English language learning.

Kate’s performance forms include text based plays, experimental performance, dance theatre, devised performance and film. She has worked internationally with OzFrank (Australia), the Lotos Collective (London), Suzuki’s Toga Summer Festival (Japan) and Witness Relocation (New York City). She has
 presented her research at ‘Zone 126 GradNation: Strengthening Families, Transforming Communities’, at the ‘Cultural Diplomacy in the United Nations Symposium,’ and ‘Creative Communities Conference: Risks and Possibilities’ at the Griffith Centre for Cultural Research. 
 
In NYC, Kate connects with other educators, individuals, businesses and communities to create projects and events that inspire, empower and enliven. See more at: http://www.katelee.space/

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What’s on in New York in February

January didn’t bring much winter feel with it but as I type this the mercury is dipping toward zero degrees C and I have it on good authority that February and March could pack a cold punch. So why not grab a cuppa, sit back, and read through AWNY’s picks of the best Feb events to help get you through the chillaroo…

Curated by the AWNY Communications Team

TOP PICK! Make sure you zip on over to our Facebook page and check out the AWNY Art Auction. Two very special artists, Jacinta Stewart and Trish Callaghan have donated an art work each for the online auction, and all funds raised will go towards AWNY’s 2017 charity, The Dwelling Place. Bidding ends Feb 8 at midnight! It’s really easy to place a bid – just add your bid in the comments section under each of the art work pics on the events page. Bid here for Jacinta’s work and here for Trish’s work. Thank you for your support for this great cause!

Aussie Cabaret performer Michael Griffiths performs his ‘In Vogue’ show (Madonna tribute) at 54 Below on February 7.  The cabaret experience of 54 Below is reason enough to go but I have a hunch Michael will make this an unforgettably fun night. Tickets and info available here.

The Gondwana Choir, comprising the most accomplished choral groups in Australia, perform on February 2nd at 1pm at the Trinity Church. Additional info about the event can be found here. Entry is free (can you think of a better way to spend your lunch break tomorrow?).

TOP PICK! Join ANWY’s Love, Sex and Romance panel discussion on February 15 at Impact Hub. New York based Australian authors Rachel Hills and Skye Cleary will lead the discussion that will explore myths, fantasies, and unspoken assumptions about romance and relationships. AWNY member tix are a bargain at $15 and are available here.

Why do us grown-ups get all the fun? Kids night on Broadway, held on Feb 28th, is a great initiative that allows kids the see Broadway shows for zilcho (must be accompanied by a fee paying adult). Search the list of participating shows here (includes the Lion King and Wicked – both excellent) and BOOK NOW. Tix won’t last.

If you’re not a super bowl fan but need to at least know the who and when, then this info is for you: The New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons will battle it out on Feb 5. If you’re more of a die-hard fan, here’s some additional specs: kick off for the main game is at 6.30PM Eastern. It’s being played in Houston, Texas, and Lady Gaga is scheduled to perform the half time show. Seriously, if you’ve never experienced a New York City pub on super bowl night, do it. Get in early though to grab a seat near the telly.

There a many great things about New York in Winter and Fashion Week is definitely one of them (I’m always reminded of one of my favourite Sex and the City scenes when Samantha gets fake blood squirted over her beautiful white mink coat while coming out of Bryant Park. “God I miss love New York!’ was her completely awesome response). It runs from Feb 9-16. This link will tell you who’s show is on and where. Most events are industry-only (but hey, great celeb spotting). This link will give you events open to the public.

Time Out have put together a great list of events around Mardi Gras (Feb 28) this year. In NYC, Mardi Gras is not celebrated in quite the same way it is in Australia. The event is actually a religious celebration (eating richer foods on Shrove Tuesday before the fasting of Lent). But in New York (and New Orleans, if you happen to be down there) it’s celebrated with a lot of Jazz. Check out Time Out’s list of some of the amazing events taking place in the city to celebrate it.

Photo credit: Joanna Hishon