Aggie Artist Alliance strives to make a home for A&T creatives

Aggie+Artist+Alliance+strives+to+make+a+home+for+A%26T+creatives

Daniel Ward , Contributor

The Aggie Artist Alliance (AAA) is a student organization dedicated to the representation of both visual artists and the many creatives that attend N.C. A&T.

The student-led organization was started by Laila Rahman-Latta, a sophomore majoring in visual arts. With such an intense focus on technology, engineering and agriculture at N.C. A&T, the arts are often overlooked which is exactly what Rahman-Latta hopes to reverse with the AAA. 

With its launch in January 2022, the organization is the first visual arts dedicated organization at A&T in over four years. This lack of a focused community and culture is one of the leading causes of its misconception.

“Freshman year, second semester, I really didn’t feel like I had met a lot of artists and that the school didn’t really have a culture built for creatives because of the focus on engineering and business,” Rahman-Latta said. “I knew there were people out there that had to feel similar so I decided to try and find them.”

Rahman-Latta also emphasized the importance of artists supporting each other in order to create a tight-knit community.

“The school is not going to give us highlights and praise because that’s not their focus, so it’s up to us to cultivate each other outside of the academic setting,” Rahman-Latta said. “Richard B. Harrison players have this saying that goes, “We all we got,” and I feel like the same applies for AAA.”

Beyond creating a community of artists, the organization also aims to both promote and create networking opportunities for these groups in spaces that are typically not focused on by the school. 

“One of my long term goals is to offer as many opportunities for the visual arts department一 hopefully one day a scholarship一 and so, I’d like for one day Aggie Artist Alliance to be like the artist version of [the National Society of Black Engineers], where artists can show out on the campus but also get plugged into as many career opportunities and networking opportunities as possible,” Rahman-Latta said.

The organization has already recently made a big debut in making its presence known on campus through a bold art installation on April Fools Day and its following week. 

Using collected recyclable materials, members of the AAA created life-sized sculptures to be placed around campus in order to make a statement about the lack of focus on recycling on campus. 

Prior to this, they also hosted a community service project in which members of the organization helped to both design and decorate classroom doors for Bluford Elementary school in celebration of Black History Month. 

It is no secret that the Black community is among the leading influences in creative and artistic cultures in America, and the AAA creates a space for these identities to both flourish and be fostered. 

Artist growth can often be limited and may be far from easy. The construction of a supportive group eases some of that struggle. R’Nasia Murphy, a freshman majoring in business management and a member of the organization, confidently shares her thoughts on how supportive and active the community is. 

“I’ve seen it a lot in the chat, where artists are able to say what they’re selling and what they just make for fun, and everyone is supportive and willing to share it,” Murphy said. “Some of the artists in AAA have opportunities to share with everyone else, so we’re all able to get better at our craft and share it to build a platform.” 

The creation of an artist-focused organization has not only given artists who have joined recognition, but also a supportive community where they can uplift and inspire each other. 

“We’re able to find a network of people who genuinely enjoy our craft,” Murphy said. “People who are willing to support each other because we want to hear each other’s stories, no matter what medium we decide to make it on.”

If you are an artist and are interested in staying up to date with or joining The Aggie Artist Alliance, you can find them on 1891Connect, or follow them on Twitter or Instagram.