by Diamond Victoria
For some busy students, finding time for meaningful community engagement is hard.
But for others, it’s second nature – par for the course in getting the best education possible before venturing into the professional world. And it’s just the beginning for Angie Reisch, who knows the importance of community involvement – it’s obvious in her work outside of the classroom. The studio art major and Dallas native graduates this spring, but not before turning her attention to some of the most important and timely cultural events taking place in the city.
A President’s Scholar and Meadows Scholar whose awards include the 2017 Mary Vernon Painting Prize, Reisch has created work this year revolving around helping contemporary female and female-identifying artists find their foothold in the art world – a world she says often underrepresents them. Earlier this month, Reisch worked on the Texas Vignette Art Fair – presented by Texas Vignette, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, promoting, and connecting women in the arts of North Texas – which included her own 20-by-20-foot installation at the Women’s Museum at Fair Park. This alternative art fair showcased new media, interactive art mediums, traditional two- and three-dimensional works and more. It’s DIY, smaller scale, artist-run projects like the Texas Vignette Art Fair that Reisch says need more support.
“The Office of Cultural Affairs and The Arts Community Alliance (TACA) can’t fund everything,” says Reisch. “We need donors who are willing to take a risk on individual artists and small organizations to really foster the arts on a local, accessible level rather than just large institutions – although those are an important piece of the arts ecosystem as well.”
Beyond using her ideas in the visual arts world, Reisch also plays a key role in planning the month-long feminist cultural festival Women Galore as a committee member. Founded in 2016 by SMU Journalism Professor of Practice Lauren Smart, the festival kicks off April 30 at Wild Detectives bookstore in Dallas with a book club discussion of Leni Zumas’ dystopian novel Red Clocks. Women Galore examines and celebrates the cross section of gender and sex through music, comedy, film, theater and books. This year the event, which runs through June 2, includes education panels, workshops, a variety sketch show, visits by authors, live music, book club discussions and author talks. Reisch says that, despite funding issues throughout the city, it’s this type of community collaboration that makes Dallas a great place for artists to be and practice their crafts.
“The sense of community here is really strong. There are some really hard-working, kind-hearted people here,” she says.
Reisch, following her internship at the Business Council for the Arts in Dallas, will become programs manager for the organization after graduation and is currently in the stages of organizing and publishing volume two of Holding Pattern, a publication produced by DADE, a local collective of women and femme artists. It includes artwork and writing by female-identifying artists and writers.
“The goal of the publication is to represent women’s art practices in a contemporary setting. By doing so, we aim to begin filling in the gender, race and age gaps sustained by the arts industry,” she says. Funding for the publication comes from SMU’s Division of Art and proceeds are slated to support the Genesis Women’s Shelter.