How a Group of Female Artists Used Social Media to Take Charge in L.A.’s Male-Dominated Art Scene

How a Group of Female Artists Used Social Media to Take Charge in L.A.’s Male-Dominated Art Scene
Courtesy She Loves Collective

Billed as an “alliance of female artists who share a strong belief in the power of art to create social change and transform lives,” She Loves Collective was founded by curator Adrineh Baghdassarian to shake up an art scene that can feel as if it's dominated by celebrities and men. It’s one of many examples of groups of artists taking control of what they display and where they showcase it.

This weekend, She Loves Collective will host a show at Honeypot L.A., a studio space downtown. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the show will center around the theme of love. This includes everything “from love of self to love of other, whether romantic, sexual, sisterly, fraternal, cosmic or familial,” as the collective’s Facebook page puts it. The collective has raised more than $8,000 on Indiegogo to fund the exhibit.

It all came about when the collective realized the true potential of social media to reach an audience willing to support artists.

“She Loves Collective was an idea that came about when our curator organized an art exhibit that was to use recyclable material,” curator Baghdassarian wrote in an email. “She had difficulty collecting materials — as she announced this on social media, in 24 hours she collected over 50,000 pieces of recycled materials with the help of women that knew her and loved her. So she came to realize how powerful participatory art mixed with the power of love and women was.”

How a Group of Female Artists Used Social Media to Take Charge in L.A.’s Male-Dominated Art Scene (2)
Courtesy She Loves Collective

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The event features pieces by 45 artists working in video, installation, painting, poetry and more. The Collective invites makers of all backgrounds, bringing together a variety of creative practices.

Last night and Saturday night sold out, but they've extended hours on Sunday to accommodate demand. The idea is to host the show not only in L.A. but in any other city that will host them. On the collective’s Facebook page, a fan commented “I wish I can” to a post about tickets to the event; a moderator responded, “We can bring it to New Zealand … plz find us an art gallery.” 

“We are based in L.A. but we strategically have designed a road map that acts as our collective goal,” Baghdassarian writes. “We will be taking our exhibit internationally. We have plans to take this show on the road and expose She Loves Collective in many cities such as Berlin, Paris, SF, New York, Yerevan, London, Amsterdam and many others.”

It’s that boots-to-the-ground energy that seems to pervade the event. And while the theme might seem clichéd because of Valentine’s Day, the artists have channeled it in unexpected ways.

“Each artist has been asked to make and create about love, what is in their hearts, what they perceive to be love. … We have numerous mediums of art including musical performances and poetry readings,” Baghdassarian writes.

With programs like the National Endowment for the Arts being threatened, it will be up to artists to find other avenues for funding and general support. The She Loves Collective is just another manifestation of what can happen when an internet cause is widespread — and people come together to help.

“We couldn’t have picked a better time for this show — we are excited to share this with the world,” Baghdassarian writes.

"She Loves," Honeypot L.A., 212 W. 12th St., downtown; Sat., Feb. 11, 7-10 p.m. (sold out) & Sun., Feb. 12, noon-7 p.m. facebook.com/SheLovesCollective2017.


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