Event Information

How to Build Community in the Arts

Gateway Film Center

Art frequently defies an easy definition because it’s as individual as the artists who create it. Always personal, and often intimate, it intentionally challenges our perspective and expands our perception. Despite bringing audiences together through shared experience, creating it can also be a lonely and isolating passion or occupation. How can fellow artists connect, building community and common cause, in an industry and local scene that sometimes seems more competitive than collaborative?

Moderator Marshall Shorts knows the struggle. As a creative catalyst, community is the crux of his every endeavor—pulling people together in a society that tends to push them apart. Operating at the intersection of art, design, cultural strategy, and social justice, his lens will focus our discussion among a panel of established and emerging artists.

Dexter Komakaru, known as professionally DXTROSE, is a freelance illustrator whose insights, experiences, and education culminate in a three-fold mission of ART, ACTIVISM, ACCESS. His multidisciplinary background inform his work in community organizing around his identities as a second-generation immigrant, a Queer, Trans, Northern Native American and Mexican person. He hopes the personal stories and hardships expressed in his work will resonate and provide inspiration for fellow aspiring artists similarly disrupting systemic cycles of harm and navigating a creative practice under capitalism.

Julia Barrett and her work span sculpture, street art, fabric, digital art, and most notably oil painting. The majority of her art is figurative—pertaining mainly to women's bodies and trans/nonbinary bodies with two distinct areas of emphasis: humanity/civil rights (insta: @jlb.art), as well as sex education and the normalization of bodies (Insta: @jul_uncensored). Her choice of media is determined by subject matter, some of which suggest a specific form of art necessary to engage her intended audience.

Donte Woods-Spikes epitomizes empathy. His biographical explorations are more than a form of expression, it’s his calling. He started sharing his art four years ago, but has been quietly creating it for decades. His storytelling requires self-reflection and soul searching, bringing internalized memories back to life. Among his current projects is a series titled “A Talk With Our Sons” which explores masculinity through the experiences of young men, especially those depicted negatively in the media who have few outlets to share their authentic stories and truths.

Ashley Palmer channels her energy into multiple creative pursuits. A lifelong artist with an academic background in studio arts and marketing, graphic design, branding, and website creation combine both fields of study and practice into a cohesive career. However, she’s also a musician, art instructor, and teaches yoga. A practitioner of Kundalini Reiki and a tarot card reader for the past decade, her intuitive entrepreneurial spirit is also seen in the development of her own divination/energy reading modality, “Mandela Readings”.

Errick Freeman reveals the miraculous potential of everyday materials. The journey from craft to art isn’t novel, but is inherently individual. Having started with a process of seemingly random selection to one that’s refined over time, recent works draw inspiration of childhood crafting experiences—specifically the use of wood burning. Pyrography incorporates portraits, graphic and abstract designs. Inspired by the wood’s natural lines, staining offers an infinite pallet of colors and opacities for works collectively subtitled “Against the Grain, Stories of the Wood”.


Thursday, May 18

6:30 Social Hour 7:30 Presentation

Gateway Film Center, 1550 N High St, Columbus, Ohio 43201

Parking in the garage is close, convenient, and only costs $2 with validation.

Thursday, May 18, 2023
6:30 Social Hour
7:30 Presentation
Student members: Free
Student non-members: $5
Members: $5
Non-members: $15
Credit cards and cash accepted.