Kim Gordon & Natasha Lyonne Back “The Most Awesome Invention of All Time”
I’ll never forget seeing the “modern princess movie” Mirror Mirror with my young friend Edie. Its star, Julia Roberts, was proud of the film because it related to her daughter. But when a character in the film said “Women always get crazy when a prince is around,” I felt deflated.
That’s one reason I was excited to join the advisory board of School of Doodle, a free online education platform cofounded by Molly Logan and Elise Van Middelem that encourages independence and creativity. In the school’s Kickstarter video, narrator Natasha Lyonne (above) calls teenage girls “the most awesome invention of all time.” This is a sentiment worth backing.
School of Doodle offers a nonlinear, modular model that invites students to explore a range of topics, earning “doodle dollars” that can be exchanged for rewards like one-on-one sessions with artists. It encourages girls to “be loud” and have their voices heard, and self-professed loud women like rockers Kim Gordon (below) and Chan Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) are voicing support. I recently spoke with Molly and Elise about this endeavor.
What’s the most interesting thing that’s happened since you launched School of Doodle?
The support, from big names to young teens, has been inspiring and humbling. The range of people wanting to know how they can volunteer to teach—we feel more like chaperones than cofounders.
How are the lessons structured?
It depends on the particular teacher. They’re all very accomplished in their fields, so we give them the freedom to come up with their own ideas. Artist Kate Costello decided to talk about creating color palettes, and then from that we issued a challenge. Cat Power is going to talk about where she finds inspiration, which transcends music and applies to anything. We also have a library of how-to videos that illustrate particular skills to execute the challenges.
Is there a story behind the name?
It was always going to be a “school.” Elise came up with doodle because she’s Belgian and she thought it was a funny word. That was perfect because a doodle embodies everything this project is meant to be about: Everyone can doodle. It comes naturally and there is no good or bad.
How do you see School of Doodle evolving?
We hope to build a large and engaged community and start evolving that into real-world learning experiences. We want to create a space in which girls can connect on a local, national, and global level. Every girl has specific talents and interests, but she doesn’t always have friends in town who share them. We’re aiming for real connections, and not the anonymity associated with other types of online communities.
This past year has seen feminism on the rise, in both popular culture and in the arts. Is this conversation helping to deepen School of Doodle’s impact?
The conversation on inequality has been going on for an awfully long time. I think for the past 15 years it had quieted down, and now it’s coming back in a pretty dynamic way [thanks to] figures like Sheryl Sandberg. Alongside the current focus on teenage girls and on creativity, it’s like a perfect storm.
For more information and to support School of Doodle, visit its Kickstarter page.
Photos: Courtesy of School of Doodle