After four years of curating and managing WAAS Gallery as a one woman show, Brandy Michele Adams was looking to the stars to send her a queen. And so they did in new curator and gallery partner, Emma Saperstein.
"With a female with the same ideas and creativity and visual response as mine, I have a lot of new energy that I am feeling and I am very excited about," Adams said.
Saperstein comes to WAAS from New York where she studied at the New York Center for Art and Media Studies and before that Wheaton College. Her experience in curating and small-print publishing in alternative art spaces in Chicago, New Haven and New York will help push WAAS' offerings beyond visual art and into adding ways to further the conversation started by the art.
WAAS, which stands for We Are All Stars, will celebrate the new partnership and new era for the gallery with "Converge," a meet-and-greet anniversary event on Friday. Uptown Goths and That Kid Cam will keep the night going with music beginning at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. respectively.
The event marks the beginning of a week-long annual sale, this year sponsored by Hysteria and Origin magazines. For the sale, resident artists have selected pieces of their work to be offered at a limited-time price.
"Converge," will be a way to introduce Saperstein to WAAS' existing patrons and for them to learn about her and Adams' joint vision for the future. A big part of that vision is that Saperstein will focus her efforts on curation and pushing the gallery to host conversations while Adams is able to hone in on sales and promoting the artists in residence.
Feminism: The conversation piece
The conversation on feminism begins Friday at "Converge" with a special showing of Mary Dore and Nancy Kennedy's She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary about the birth of the women's liberation movement in the 1960s.
For Adams and Saperstein, one of the first conversations they want to start is about women in the arts, in society and in Dallas specifically.
"It is amazing to see how male dominated the art scene is, in Dallas especially, there are very few female gallerists," Saperstein said.
Saperstein pointed out that feminism in Dallas is different than feminism in Amsterdam or New York. She said that she and Adams have an understanding of how far behind Dallas is when it comes to women's equality and that they share a vision about how to influence the conversation to push Dallas forward.
Adams said that it is important to realize that their brand of feminism does not mean that they hate men or that they no longer want to promote male artists. Quite the contrary, in fact, WAAS will host Dallas-based visual artist Matthew Brinston's "I Wish I Were Me" exhibit in November.
"We're trying to be more of a conscious collective that is instituting new ideas, that's fostering relevant conversations within our new world," Adams said.
She said this was the original mission of WAAS when she opened the gallery's doors in Expo Park four years ago, but that the city was not ready to start the conversation. Now, however, she said that Dallas has opened up to new ideas and new voices, which is why she and Saperstein are joining forces to create a conduit for the fine art world to have tough discussions that might otherwise be glossed over.
Ultimately though, Adam's mission for WAAS is about promoting equality in the arts and in society, on which she said,
"I don't want to stand behind you. I don't want to stand in front of you. I just want to be right next to you."