Film and TV producer Sydney Lowe ’13 is the founder of Art Girl Army (AGA), an organization that generates networking opportunities and fosters community among young women with creative careers. The collective originally started in Lowe’s small New York City apartment as a space for her and her friends to collaborate, provide support to one another and share their experiences as women working in creative fields, which largely lack gender, sexual and racial diversity. Since 2014 it has developed into an online global community of nearly 3,500 artists, including illustrators, comedians, dancers and more.
Lowe enjoyed ample opportunities to connect and collaborate with her peers as an undergraduate at Wesleyan. In an interview with Artsy, she explains how transitioning to the competitive environment of New York City made her miss being part of a supportive, creative community:
The landscape she entered was impermeable compared to her years at Wesleyan University, a school with a track record for encouraging unbridled creativity and likewise turning out throngs of illustrious creatives: artists Glenn Ligon and Rachel Harrison, Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner, pop duo MGMT, and Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda among them.
“If you needed photographers, dancers, musicians, you name it for a project, you could find them,” Lowe says of her college days. “And more often than not, they were excited to collaborate.”
When she did not find a diverse space for women-focused networking and support after graduation, she created Art Girl Army. Keeping its members updated on its website and Facebook page, AGA acts as a community and valuable platform for women, including those who are gender nonconforming, trans and genderqueer. By sharing resources, facilitating dialogue, and hosting in-person events, the collective encourages economic empowerment and promotes collaboration.
AGA was recently honored with the 2017 Phenomenal Woman Award from The National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Moving forward Lowe is working to grow the award-winning collective without compromising its accessibility.