Artist collectives have served an essential role throughout art and cultural history as safe spaces for like-minded creatives to cultivate ideas, compile resources and redefine the cultural landscape. Currently, D.C. is home to several artist collectives set on changing the scene, opening doors and creating change. Meet some of the most inclusive artist collectives in the District whose members are working hard to make our arts scene a more progressive, inviting space via photography, music, art and more.
411 Collective consists of D.C.-based artists and organizers who use art as their platform for advocacy. Spreading their messages throughout the city with murals, banners and signs, they provide visuals for the causes they strongly believe in.
For more information on 411 Collective, visit www.411Collective.com and @411collective on Instagram.
Angel Rose Artist Collective
Angel Rose Artist Collective formed in 2015 when a group of queer and nonbinary artists spoke together on a panel. With the encouragement of a K’iche’ elder in the local arts community, they formed a collective centered on Native American art called Nelwat Ishkamewe. After the unexpected passing of community member and leader Angel Rose, a Nahua trans woman who served as bilingual community outreach director, the collective’s name was changed to Angel Rose Artist Collective in her honor.
“We fight for trans native liberation and the liberation of our Black and POC [People of Color] trans siblings. We ensure we have ASL and Spanish interpretation at our events because there needs to be access for those communities. We also strongly believe in language revitalization as a part of language justice. During Covid, we have been organizing trans and queer Salvadorans to learn the language Nawat via online classes, study groups and other fun learning tools. We consistently fundraise for various issues: trans artists, elders, housing and rent support, and much more. We produce live streams via Instagram and Zoom to share our communities’ work. We need to keep each other safe, and we do that by [holding] each other accountable.” – Petrona Xemi Tapepechul, Artistic Director of Angel Rose Artist Collective
For more information on Angel Rose Artist Collective, visit www.angelrosearts.org and @angelrosearts on Instagram.
Creative Hands Studio + The Community Collective
The Community Collective photography showcase started long before Creative Hands Studio existed. The first show was in 2016 at the Capital Fringe Festival, consisting of 48 photos by 48 individual photographers. Now, Creative Hands Studio is the home base for photographers in the collective.
“The Creative Hands Studio and The Community Collective exist to create opportunities. All I ask for people to do is share their work with the world and spread the word so others can have the same opportunity. I believe creative expression can transcend race, time, social differences, gender, etc. It connects people in ways that are often impossible using other methods, and can build a bridge that can mend many gaps. While there are many different points of view globally, no one ever denies a beautiful piece of art.” – Jarrett Hendrix, Founder of Creative Hands Studio
For more information on Creative Hands Studio and The Community Collective, visit www.creativehandsdc.com and @creativehandsdc on Instagram.
The Omi Collective
The Omi Collective formed in 2016 to connect with the community through the creation of art. Co-founder Naomi Christianson began the Omi Collective art lounge, an environment to encourage artists and art lovers to come together and heal with art by curating artful environments fostering the imagination with the vibrational therapy of color, sound and light. Today, the art lounge has had over 40 reiterations with two permanent retail locations and an online store.
“As a collective of diverse artists committed to healing the collective heart while living on occupied land, we need to maintain mindful and conscious support of our artists and communities. We follow local organizing principles and honor our relationships with D.C. grassroots groups advocating for local refugees, BIPOC youth, women entrepreneurs, equitable healing, refugee children, recent immigrants, trans lives and Black lives. We have supported BLMDC (Black Lives Matter DC) for the past four years by creating artwork full of color and imagery to ignite heart-centered change.” – Sanam Emami, Creative Director of The Omi Collective
For more information on The Omi Collective, visit www.theomicollective.com and @theomicollective on Instagram.
Naburu founded P0STB1NARY in February 2019 as a direct response to the lack of resources for Black and non-white trans musicians. P0STB1NARY started as a collective of six artists: raverjinn, tunneloflove, MANIIK, Twin Jude, Babby and Naburu. They came together to create a platform because they did not see themselves represented in the local scene. Due to capacity, P0STB1NARY changed its structure at the end of 2019. Currently, Naburu and co-founder Kenny Me operate as the core team uplifting a network of artists and cultural workers.
“We are invested in our community base’s autonomy, safety, wellness and creative development. P0STB1NARY is passionate about cultivating sober spaces as an alternative to club culture. In the past five months, P0STB1NARY has launched several mutual aid initiatives in response to Covid-19. It is important to us to create opportunities and move resources and money directly to Black trans people. We curate sober events that include DJ sets live musical performances and workshops led by our community members. Eventually, we plan to archive our work online for further access. Additionally, we are curating a growing directory of Black trans and nonbinary musicians to support on Bandcamp. We encourage non-Black and cis people to invest in Black trans people’s material realities by becoming a monthly donor on our Patreon. We fundraise in November for #TransAwarenessMonth. As a small grassroots organization, P0STB1NARY is mostly funded by individual donations.” – Naburu, Founder of P0STB1NARY
For more information on P0STB1NARY, visit www.p0stb1nary.world and @p0stb1nary on Instagram.
The They/Them Collective does a lot of crucial direct action and mutual aid work in D.C. specifically focused on queer, non-binary and trans BIPOC. Their work includes organizing community marches and recently launching Feed the People, a mutual aid initiative to help provide the homeless with food and other supplies.
For more information on the They/Them Collective, follow them on Instagram @theythemcollective.
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