Creators Collective hosts a weekend-long exhibition featuring Black, queer art


Kaylee Uribe | Staff Photographer

A collection of photographs and drawings by students on display in a window of the Frick Fine Arts building during the Creators Collective Exhibition this weekend.

By Maya Valletta, Staff Writer

Frick Fine Arts Building transformed this weekend with student artwork ranging from photography, poetry, drawings, paintings, sculptures and more. The exhibition, hosted by Pitt Creators Collective, featured a collection of works from its members and the Pitt community. 

The exhibition is Creators Collective’s first large event since it was founded in 2019. Khanh Tran, the club’s president and a junior marketing and business information systems major, said she initiated the event because she wanted a place to showcase artwork from people of color and queer communities. 

“Our club very much stands for the POC and queer community, so we wanted to kind of make this a space where we could generate a place where people can connect through art,” Tran said. “We tinkered with a few ideas, but essentially an exhibition made the most sense because we have so many members that have different mediums.” 

Julianna Paul, a junior communication major and a Creators Collective member, had a number of works in the exhibition. She said the club is a creative outlet for her and a way to explore her creative hobbies. 

Two sculpted mice are displayed in the Frick Fine Arts building during the Creators Collective Exhibition this weekend.
(Kaylee Uribe | Staff Photographer)

“It’s really encouraged me to get more into drawing. Drawing has been something I’ve been practicing, but this actually gave me the motivation to work on that,” Paul said. “It was definitely motivational to have both people to work with there and also an opportunity to show it off.” 

Paul’s exhibition pieces included several abstract-colored pencil drawings and a coordinating painted bag that she sewed. 

“I’ve been challenging myself to try and make more abstract pieces and focusing on different shapes and layering different shapes to try and make them look almost transparent in some places,” Paul said. “I’ve been trying to get some movement in my drawings.” 

Along with displaying art during the exhibition, Creators Collective encouraged attendees to donate to SisTers PGH, a Black and trans-led nonprofit organization that serves people of color, trans and nonbinary people within Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

“SisTers PGH was the one that stood out to us the most because their mission, their outreach programs, they do a lot for the ethnic minorities and the trans community especially,” Tran said. “We wanted to gather these donations and show our support to this cause.”

Creators Collective’s e-board began planning for the event in the beginning of the semester. Scott Andrew, the club’s adviser and a studio arts instructor at Pitt, helped members navigate funding and logistics of planning the large event. 

“[My role] is kind of hands off. It’s really whatever the students need and they’re very self-guided,” Andrew said. “So I’ve been helping with fundraising and then also just advising on how to set up the exhibition and helping prep work for the exhibition.” 

Tran, with the help of Andrew, prepared and printed about 50 submitted works on pieces of paper that hung on the cloisters of the Frick Fine Arts building alongside work that participants brought in themselves. 

Andrew said the club did not make any curatorial decisions and anyone who wanted to submit work was able to. Khanh said the club received about 37 artist submissions for the exhibit.

“That’s kind of nice because a lot of time with exhibitions, people will maybe not be accepted into them and so this way, everybody gets to participate,” Andrew said. 

Casey Winters, a sophomore statistics and political science major, said he joined to find a creative outlet as a violinist. Now, as the club historian, he helps plan meetings and tackled much of the advertising for the exhibition. 

“It’s been a lot of advertising. So reaching out to various clubs and organizations, telling people I know about the exhibition and asking their studio arts and their poetry circles to respond to it and gauge what people were thinking in regards to the exhibition,” Winters said. 

He said the event was a place for the studio arts community to come together and broadcast what they do. 

“It’s all about just finding the ways that creatives in the Pitt community are alike, but also really different, and giving those people a space to project what makes them unique,” Winters said. “I think very often we tend to lump the arts together, and this is a way for us to showcase so many different artists and so many different creatives in so many different ways.” 

Because Creators Collective is a smaller club, Winters said he is proud of the participants and the response the event received. The opening night attracted a crowd of about 30 people. 

“I’m most proud of our participants because we’ve gathered quite a large amount of work, which is wonderful because Creators Collective has historically been a rather small club,” Winters said. “Seeing that we were able to make this exhibition something that people know about, I’m very proud of that and I’m very proud of everyone who has submitted something.”