Art XX brings underrepresented artists to the spotlight

| Scene Reporter

Art XX, a student group that developed out of the Washington University Co-op, plans events that bring underrepresented artists and their work to the Washington University and St. Louis communities. Through shows and discussions, Art XX hopes to expose students to contemporary art and foster a more open and creative atmosphere on campus.

“The goal is to get a dialogue in the community between artists and art enthusiasts and give artists a chance to give back to the community as well as people who are curious about the art world,” said senior Samantha Lewin, treasurer of Art XX. The group aims to make art more accessible, rather than an ephemeral, Hollywood thing, according to Lewin. Art XX feels that communal interaction through art is essential to the creative process.

Founded six years ago as the Committee on Women and Art, Art XX changed its name and purpose this past fall to focus on integrating all underrepresented artists rather than exclusively female artists. The group has no desire to appear exclusive, but the “XX” of Art XX signifies the female sex chromosomes and highlights the continued importance of promoting female artists.

“The motivation for wanting to get involved in a creative community doesn’t have to be consistently a rejection against female stereotyping or oppression or attitudes against female expression. Creativity needs to be fostered and given fuel, and I don’t think we can be too picky about why,” Lewin said.

Art XX also strives to explore art in all of its mediums and has put on various events to highlight artists of a wide variety of channels and different relevant social themes. Among them are movie screenings, concerts, speakers and panel discussions. The group also hosts an art show, which features local St. Louis artists; most recently, the Art XX show was hosted at the Wash. U. Co-op and featured many Wash. U. students.

Amelia Fawcett, president of Art XX, explained that the group’s biggest event is an annual symposium in the spring, which is scheduled for the end of March this year. Various female artists have been invited to campus to lecture, perform, talk to students and display their work.

Last year’s symposium featured dancer/choreographer Amy O’Neal, sculptor and teacher Fawn Krieger, and local R&B and jazz singer Kim Massie. Massie, in particular, was a huge hit. Both the St. Louis and Wash. U. communities came out in droves to hear her sing.

Given Art XX’s feminist legacy, the majority of its members as well as its speakers have been female. However, the group plans to pursue new perspectives.

“It would be nice to have a different voice and also somebody who has different kinds of connections to the University, an exposure to a different kind of social scene to bring more diversity to the group,” Lewin said.

“We’re hoping to branch out into also male artists,” Fawcett added. “Anybody we think fits under our category of ‘underrepresented’ or that we think would be enriching for the Wash. U. community.”

This sentiment is the motivation for the shift in focus last semester, and the members have high hopes for the future of Art XX.

“I would hope that the group gets bigger and [gains] more enthusiasm,” Lewin said. “Everyone has a creative outlet; everybody gets tired of inhaling information and whatever they study. Everybody wants the time to reflect and put out some kind of personally, individually made thing. The group has so much room for personal expression.”

For more information on Art XX or to get involved with the group, e-mail [email protected] or attend one of their meetings on Monday at 6 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the Kranzberg Art & Architecture Library.

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