Graduate student honors women of color with new exhibit
SU student's new exhibit honors women of color
Spencer Stultz was just three years old when she was first introduced to painting. If someone told that little girl that after 20 years she would host her own solo exhibition, she would not have believed them, Stultz said. Today, she is celebrating International Women’s Day by inviting the public to see her paintings portraying women of color.
Stultz is an artist from Columbus, Ohio. She is a graduate student of Pan African Studies. The artist earned her B.A in political science with minors in painting and African-American studies. Initially, the combination of these departments seemed illogical to her, but when she started expressing her feelings and statements through paintings, Stultz said things started making sense.
“This was the moment that everything I love and care about can all come to a point and converge,” Stultz said. “It was beautiful and overwhelming in a good way.”
The exhibition, “A Time for Joy and a Time for Sorrow,” is part of Stultz’s thesis project on African-American artists who express their activism through art. Stultz said that along with the writing project, she felt the thesis also needed a visual demonstration so that people can read and see her final project.
Stultz added that only four percent of museum collections are created by women of color. As an artist with a similar background, she wanted to make a contribution to that list. Stultz said this exhibition is her form of activism.
“It’s kind of fighting the institutional practice of excluding women of color from museum collections and museum galleries.”
Stultz’s exhibition and art collection contain only portrits of women. In fact, she portrays herself in the paintings with different facial and emotional expressions within various circumstances.
Stultz added she paints only women figures because her life is dominated by female relationships and she experiences the world through a female body and female interactions. According to Stultz, women play a huge role in global society and she wants to highlight women’s’ existence and significance through her paintings.
“Women play a pivotal role in every part of society,” she said. “Women are backbones and the foundation of society, internationally not just in the States.”
The exhibition started during the Black History Month and will continue through Women’s History Month at the Community Folk Art Center. Stultz said the significance of these two months help deliver her message best.
“When I think about my life and looking back what I’ve done I don’t think that any other two months would have been better,” she said. “Because I am a black woman, my blackness and womanhood dictate, a lot of times, how people interact with me and it’s such a big part of my existence.”
Along with her thesis project, Stultz has two on-campus jobs. She works as an academic consultant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, mentoring students of color and helping them successfully complete courses. Stultz is also a teaching assistant in the department of African-American studies. Stultz said both jobs require around eight hours of work per day, but she doesn’t regret devoting additional time and energy for the exhibition because practicing art became her habit. Stultz recalled the few years when she stopped painting in the past and later realized the place art held in her life.
“I don’t even know if it was art that was missing,” she said. “I think it was myself that was missing.”
More information on Stultz’ exhibit can be found on the Community Folk Art Center’s website. The exhibit will be displayed through March 23rd.