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2nd annual COLLECTIVE art show celebrates POC artists

The second annual COLLECTIVE art show showcased art made by people of color, at Movement Ink, a local clothing apparel store, on March 9, 2018. Mills students and non-Mills students submitted works of visual art, multimedia, live poetry and music.

The space became a makeshift art gallery for the night with art sharing space with the hoodies and T-shirts Movement Ink is known for. Food and drinks were free to all while students and community members filtered in and out of the space throughout the night.

Mills students Andrea Ortiz-Galdamez and Katie Funes organized this year’s COLLECTIVE after its success last year.

“COLLECTIVE was created because Andrea and I felt that a space that honored and celebrated the artwork of people of color was missing, not only from Mills, but from the greater ‘art world’ as well,” Funes said.

They felt that COLLECTIVE accomplished that goal last year, and they continued to plan the second one with the same vision.

Many art spaces can be elitist and at its core, racist, when it comes to how artists of color and their work are perceived. The goal was to have a space where folks would have fun while taking the time to absorb work made by the artists,” Ortiz-Galdamez said, “and basically not have it overshadowed by white art or white norms of what ‘art’ is.” 

Both Ortiz-Galdamez and Funes chose the art to be displayed from the submissions. Compared to last year’s event they showcased fewer art pieces.

Last year we had almost 30 artists on display and that was amazing! However, wall space was very crowded and it was hard to highlight certain artists. This year we asked people to be mindful of the number of pieces they submitted and their sizes, and with that kind of communication we were able to include everyone who submitted,” Funes said.

“We really weren’t looking for any specific kind of art,” Ortiz-Galdamez said.

They aimed to redefine the elitist exclusivity of art by including diverse art mediums. 

Their location was also a very calculated part of the event. Funes said the space was proposed to her last year by her classmate, Mills undergraduate Reyna Maldonado, who works at Movement Ink, located at 3832 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland. Choosing to partner with Movement Ink last year was successful, so the organizers chose to work with them again in hope of strengthening Mills ties with the Oakland community.

“Reyna and Neto — who run Movement Ink — also served as mentors during the process of organizing the show both times. Katie and I learned and are continuing to learn a lot from them, and they’re skills that I’m glad to have,” Ortiz-Galdamez said.

The COLLECTIVE organizers hope to continue this event centering art by people of color, to see it expand, and to continue building ties across multiple communities.

“COLLECTIVE 2019 stay tuned,” Funes said.