A fundamental challenge the group pinpointed was a dearth of both women and sexual and racial diversity across the creative fields—especially in leadership positions. As Lowe recalls, “Sometimes I was the only person of color or woman in the room at certain art galleries or film screenings that I’d go to.” Her dinner guests, who were black, Latina, and white, shared similar experiences. Together, they realized that the first step in addressing these inequalities was acknowledging them. But a question lingered for Lowe: Then what?
Word of the supportive environment fostered at the powwows spread quickly. Friends told friends about the conversations, the confidence, and even the job opportunities that were kindled in Lowe’s home. And before she knew it, the original group of five grew to 10, then 20—and “the dinner table just kept getting tighter and tighter,” she laughs.
Art Girl Army, as Lowe eventually dubbed the group, continues to grow by the day. The women who participate, aged 18 to 40, can no longer meet up en masse in apartments, but they now hold valuable conversations in the Facebook group that corrals them. “It’s been an interesting process, to transform something that started as very grassroots into a digital community,” says Lowe. “But I think that we’ve done a good job of making sure that same sense of community and spirit of collaboration still exists.”
A scroll through AGA’s recent posts confirms this claim. One, from New York-based Sophie Ginette Boss, calls for submissions to her publication THE LIBERTINE, which covers “the weirdest, the most colorful, and the most intersectionally feminist theatre artists.” Two days after the post appeared, responses were still rolling in. Shama Rahman, senior marketing coordinator at the Whitney, shared a job listing for a social media producer at The Met. Others advertise residency, award, and activism opportunities, art show openings, and album releases. Likes abound and conversations are stoked.
But in order to remain relevant—and to support members and their goals holistically—Lowe hopes Art Girl Army “will be more than just a community,” she says. She wants AGA to be a resource, and “a platform that can provide creative women with more job, networking, and educational opportunities than we’re able to offer now.”