'What’s Your Beautiful' Spotlight: Dolly Avenue

by Tami Brehse February 02, 2017

'What’s Your Beautiful' Spotlight: Dolly Avenue

This post is part of our What’s Your Beautiful? series. In it, we’re sharing stories of women who are changing the world in their own unique way. Want to share your story or one about an inspiring woman you know? Use the submission form here.

Meet Dolly Avenue, a visual storyteller based in Chicago.

After living in more than 20 homes, Dolly realized she wanted a way to capture the different places and fast-moving scenes of her everyday life and the world around her. She was inspired to begin taking still photos and videos, which she showcases on her website, DollyAve.com.

“Capturing images is a way for me to freeze each experience in my life to take with me to the next place,” she explains. “I enjoy creating scenes and different depictions of people, mostly due to wanting to romanticize various parts of myself and my own life.”

Serving Through Art

Through her photography work, Dolly came across a group called Photoserve, a non-profit that connects visual artists for service projects. Their latest project? Bringing a team of creative to the Amazon jungle to work hands-on on improving life for communities in Peru.

“Unfortunately, I quickly realized that the deadline to go on the trip was over,” Dolly says, “but I decided to reach out to the organization anyway. They told me that if somehow I could raise enough money, then the odds were in my favor.”

Dolly knew she had to find a way to be part of the trip. She immediately logged online and launched a crowdfunding campaign, spreading the word to family and friends. Within a week, the money was raised.

“Although I was scheduled to leave during my finals, I knew that this opportunity outweighed any other reason to not do it,” she says. “I headed on out to the Amazon with my photo and video gear for 10 days and came back completely changed.”

Making a Difference

During their stay in Peru, Dolly and her team fixed two wells, provided hygiene kits and health education to people in remote villages, and captured photos and video to take back home to help raise additional awareness.

It was a risk, something completely unfamiliar, yet Dolly says it was worth every minute.

“I believe that taking risks is important in order to grow and improve in your art,” Dolly says. “I loved the concept of using your creative talents to make a difference.”

Have a story about a woman who’s impacting lives through family, service, career or community? (It can be you!) Share the story with us here.

Tami Brehse
Tami Brehse