URI graduate creates online poster for Women’s March on Washington, Jan. 21

Poster is a hit on Pantsuit Nation website

KINGSTON, R.I., Jan. 18, 2017 — As the stay-at-home mother of a toddler and newborn, Narya Marcille barely has a minute to eat a piece of toast.

Still, the University of Rhode Island graduate and artist managed to carve out time at night, when her children were sleeping, to create a poster for the upcoming Women’s March on Washington Saturday, Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C.

“It took me exactly 74 hours,’’ she says. “I’m so glad I did it.’’

The poster, posted on Pantsuit Nation’s Facebook page, is a huge success. So far, it’s received 85,500 hits and more than 3,000 comments, including accolades like “fantastic,’’ “beautiful,’’ and “moving.’’

“It’s overwhelming,’’ says Marcille, 34, of North Smithfield. “I never thought the poster would get this kind of reaction. It’s really kind of amazing.’’

A native of Washington state, Marcille moved to Rhode Island when she was 16, graduating from South Kingstown High School in 2001. She graduated with a bachelor of fine arts from URI in 2005, following in the footsteps of relatives with deep ties to the University, including her late grandfather, Robert Marcille, a 1949 graduate, as well as aunts and uncles.

Marcille worked in a jewelry store for a while and then decided to stay home to raise her children: Micah, now 3 ½, and Jack, born four months ago. Whenever she had a free moment she freelanced as a graphic designer.

A few weeks ago, she found out that her two aunts and sister would be going to the Washington march. Marcille, who did not vote for Trump, wanted to join them, but decided the journey would be too difficult with her kids in tow.

Aunt Ginny (Virginia Kerslake) suggested instead that Marcille create a poster that Kerslake could carry at the march. Marcille jumped at the opportunity. The design, made with Adobe Illustrator, features former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, an African-American woman wearing a gay pride pin, an Asian woman, and a Muslim woman wearing a hijab. Their arms are linked in front of a boisterous crowd of protesters, one lifting a sign that says, “Rise Up.” The U.S. Capitol building is set against a pink sky— “a feminist color,” says Marcille.

Narya Marcille and her husband, Tom Gruczka, and their children, Micah, 3 ½, and Jack, four months. Photo courtesy of Narya Marcille.

“Women Unite,” is scrawled in bold letters across the bottom.

“Only two of the women are well-known. The others are, well, just women,’’ says Marcille. “I wanted to leave them open to interpretation, so that we may all see ourselves in them. You don’t have to be famous to stand up and be heard.’’

At Kerslake’s urging, Marcille posted an online version of the poster to the Pantsuit Nation website the evening of Jan. 8 and then “sort of forgot about it.’’ Her aunt contacted her later to report that the poster had received thousands of “likes.’’

“It was very exciting,’’ she says. “I spent the rest of the evening watching the number go up.’’

The response was so overwhelming Marcille set up an Etsy page under Blooming Anchor Designs, where fans can buy digital downloads for $5 to $20, with some of the profits going to Planned Parenthood and Running Start, a nonprofit that inspires women to run for public office. Marcille is also selling signed posters for $65 and prints for $100 to $250, depending on the size.

If the weather cooperates, Marcille will attend a “sister version’’ of the Women’s March in Providence, also this Saturday. Her sons and husband, Tom Gruczka, a 2004 graduate of URI who now teaches physical education and health in Smithfield, will accompany her.

“If the weather is crummy we’ll have to skip it,’’ says Marcille. “But at least I’ll be at the one in Washington—in spirit.’’