How Activism and Art Has Shifted My Life
By Taylor Wang
Artist and activist Taylor Wang discusses how her involvement in art activism has helped her to extend her capabilities and grow as a person.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I co-founded, Student Art Spaces (SAS). I was enamoured with the idea of how art activism could help promote youth equity in the arts. I wanted to do whatever I could to uplift women and people of color – a demographic that makes up a tiny percentage of contemporary artists.
Meeting adults in conference rooms to discuss fundraising and working with major museums to curate pieces caused me to spend a lot of time around professionals. I often felt imposter syndrome around these experts; a sense of self doubt that I was not competent enough to be around these professionals.
To overcome my initial discomfort, I tried to listen more than talk.
To overcome my initial discomfort, I tried to listen more than talk. I took advice and applied it to SAS. I listened to criticism even if it made me anxious. And as time went on, I began to feel more confident in my abilities and ready to take on new challenges.
After these initial experiences, I began work on my next gallery exhibition, and in the midst of communicating with the new gallery director and making talks about our work at local venues, I began to reflect on the significance of my first experiences with art activism and how I had learned more during this time than I could have ever in a traditional classroom setting.
I learned more during this time than I could have ever in a traditional classroom setting.
Due to the lack of mentorship and prior knowledge available before I began my art-activism journey, I had to learn how to be resourceful, efficient, and quick-witted when encountering challenges, which pushed my limits and helped me grow as a person. Whether it was googling how to create a bank account for the organization or tinkering around in Photoshop to create advertisements, by tackling this project I forced myself to extend my capabilities. Moving forward, my mission is to extend SAS's impact to every teen who wants to share their artwork with pride.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Taylor Wang is a Seattle-based artist and activist. When she is not curating youth exhibits and brainstorming ideas for community projects, she can be found doodling sketches for her next oil painting. Taylor hopes to foster community wherever she goes, utilizing her core beliefs of inclusivity and honesty. Taylor's involvement with arts activism began when she co-founded Student Art Spaces (SAS), a youth-driven platform aiming to amplify the voices of young artists in professional spaces through gallery events and education. Not only this, but Taylor is also an artist for Lithium Magazine and a graphic designer for Space to Speak Org. She hopes to continue growing her activism as she connects with other empowered youth and organizations!