Women in the Arts 

 Celebrating the Genius of Women              Orlando, Florida             A 501(c)3 non-profit organizatio

"Every dollar that Women in the Arts makes comes from someone who believes that the work Women in the Arts does is worth something, and every cent of this money is then turned around to purchase materials, pay teachers, and hire interns to create an even better experience. This is an organization that really stands by its mission of giving back to the community, and through the new classes of motivated students coming in every year and the continued support of the believers who grew through the program, anything is possible."

Excerpts from "The Little Non profit that does" by Samira de Nijs, 2015


Maria Guerrero founded Women in the Arts in 2007 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in advancement of the arts, with the support of the first board of directors and Fr. Andy O'Reilly, the pastor at her Orlando parish, St. Andrew Catholic Church.

A spiritual call

"The decision to establish Women in the Arts was my response to a spiritual call to serve by bringing recognition to the talent and work of women artists and to provide access to free art education, especially to children. There are different kinds of poverty and the lack of access and exposure to the arts constitutes a form of intellectual poverty which Women in the Arts seeks to address.

The letters of Pope St. John Paul II to women and artists had a great impact on me. They clarified the need I could see, still present, for access to the arts and for the recognition of women artists. His expression of gratitude and appreciation calling to action community and religious leaders and the public to support the dignity of the work of artists and women initiated the response which formed the basis of the mission at Women in the Arts"  

Maria Guerrero

Read St. John Paul II Open Letter to Women and Open Letter to Artists

The Little Non profit that does

Excerpts from "The Little Non profit that does"

by Samira de Nijs, 2015

"The business model behind Women in the Arts is ruled by simple classic charity principles. However, despite its unassuming appearance on paper, Women in the Arts has a radical, compelling mission to carry out,” says Maria Guerrero, the organization’s founder, and by any objective standard her analysis is completely correct. Here is an organization that looks to break down the fine arts’ deep-rooted problems with professional gender inequality and financial discrimination in education, to bring justice to a habitually unjust culture ..." 

"Women in the Arts started meeting at St. Andrew Catholic Church in 2005, a time when art courses in public schools suffered extensive cuts to funding in exchange for a focus on core curriculum courses to be tested on AP exams, leaving scholastic arts education to die it slow death by a thousand budget cuts. Women in the Arts attained non-profit status on October 26, 2007 and won its first grant and seed money from C101, West Orange Chamber of Commerce, which allowed the organization to launch the first free art program in 2009."

"As Women in the Arts and the Community School of the Arts grew over the years, it expanded its goal of giving back to include an annual art competition for female artists. The competition was started in partnership with the Orlando Public Library, as a small way of showing some appreciation for the genius of women in an art world, and has successfully branched into an international competition with a cash prize." 

"These classes are run by experienced college-educated and internationally-renowned professionals from various schools of color and form who are quite well compensated to lay down some high-quality in-depth education for anyone who wants to seriously study art, and their passion for their subject is met with great enthusiasm from the students."

"The rate at which Women in the Arts retains students is one of the program’s greatest accomplishments. It prides itself in creating an environment that really involves its students, and the students really want to be there."

"CSA graduates have gone on to gain acceptance into art magnet schools and art-track collegiate programs using portfolios built with the CSA, others have been invited to paint murals in churches, and a few have even gone on to win competitions at the collegiate level."

"The personal nature of the program has managed to achieve something within the Orlando community that most American schools, public and private, can’t even begin to touch: it’s created a culture that makes students want to learn about art, and it doesn’t end with graduation. Alumni from the program’s nascent years still meet to discuss the arts, go to museums, or work on pieces together; some of these graduates have worked extensively with the teachers and Maria in developing a cohesive curriculum that emphasized the importance and overlap between the areas of science, technology, and art."