KUUMBA.TV: The ultimate guide to KUUMBA and art on Wash.U’s campus

Jamie Gottlieb | Contributing Reporter
Courtesy of Max Campbell

Senior Luke Terrell films a guitarist for a KUUMBA profile. KUUMBA was developed as a platform for publicizing Washington University’s sizable creative community through demonstrations.

Founded three years ago by Celso White, KUUMBA has rapidly grown to provide campus artists with a voice they previously lacked. I sat down with senior Luke Terrell, the current co-director (junior Max Campbell is the other co-director), to get inside the mind of KUUMBA and the culture of art. Even amidst the chaos in the Danforth University Center, he showed me some method to the KUUMBA madness. Commence an exploration of the not-so-secret art community at Wash. U.


“KUUMBA is an online platform designed by students and for students with the intention of uniting the creative community on Wash. U.’s campus through visual stories.”

The literal meaning of Kuumba:

“A Swahili word that means ‘to create’ or ‘creativity.’”


“I think that part of the reason KUUMBA was started in the first place was because there is a pretty strong art community here that doesn’t get the visibility they deserve…KUUMBA has always hoped to inform people of the existence of that community, inspire people to get involved and to foster collaboration amongst the people within that community. And to do all that in a creative way through the medium of video…Through these videos a lot of people who are creative in different ways get recognition they may not receive [which is] great motivation…and validation of their efforts.

“I think the most common thing we hear is people just being approached by strangers who say, “Hey, I saw your video. That’s really really cool what you do.” And being taken aback because they’re not used to that recognition, and being appreciative of it.”


“In our selection process, we like to find people with really quirky talents—we also have a lot of not necessarily crazy things. We really focus our attention on those underground—I don’t really know what other word to use—and, like, people who have specific niches within the art world or within their medium because it makes for really interesting stories and, again, gives recognition to people that otherwise that would just stay underground.”


“Our semi-adopted slogan is ‘keep crafting; keep creating,’ and I think we really like that slogan and embrace it because I think it is important for people to explore their creative side and not to be nervous or hesitant to share their work with others because I think when you challenge yourself creatively you benefit in a way that’s different than going to a lecture hall and writing an essay. And I think it’s a really important to challenge yourself…so whether it be glassblowing or ceramics or acting or speech, there’s a million forms of creative outlets out there, and it’s really important to try them out and see what you really enjoy doing.”

En fin,

Take some time to find the art on campus and create your own art. Go to kuumba.tv and explore the videos and the blog. You’ll probably find a friend or two that you didn’t know was so into, say, glassblowing. Or music. Or theatre. Or painting. Or recycling art. Or anything. The point is, there is an art community on this campus, and it deserves our recognition.