Photo by Ally Almore Photography,
Kelsey McGrath at The Newness
On November 29th, 2018, Scapi Magazine sat down with Kelsey McGrath to talk inclusivity,
The Newness salon started in April 2018 after McGrath yearned for a space to be able to perform new mediums for artists of color and the LGBTQ+ community and to create a community of
“I was working at my
McGrath makes sure to take their role as a producer and curator to a personal level with their artists.
“I do check in with my artists and with myself too like ‘Why are we doing this? Why are we here?’”McGrath said. “I think that’s what a producer does, checks in with their artists and to be honest most of these people are my friends. I’m really glad you brought up the vulnerability piece because that’s something that holds so close and being able to create that space as a producer I just want to make myself as available as possible. Something I tell my artists
While spaces for artists are growing by the dozen in Chicago, McGrath believes there must be room for people of color and LGBTQ+ communities to be able to express and explore their different mediums and forms of art. This gave them the idea to create a specific place to curate a creative way to allow these people to showcase their work.
“There is space for everyone,” McGrath said. “You’ll see representation in a lot of different demographics. I always ask their pronouns. And I think there’s a beauty when I’m curating, really being precise and deliberate. Everyone that I bring in are people that I know or based on artists recommendations and I do this deliberately to create a platform for these folks.”
“It’s about doing new work,” McGrath said/ “Something different whether that’s a different medium or a different piece that you’re bringing in. so many artists wear hats and it’s really scary to do the thing and to be able to do it somewhere that’s comfortable and supportive it’s like this is where we begin.”
In the spirit of learning as artists, McGrath also gives us insight on what they feel is the best takeaway from a project like The Newness Salon.
“Something that I love about this is it becomes a learning opportunity,” McGrath said. “It becomes listening. It becomes empathy. We’re all in this together. Having this has become a learning experience for me as a producer and as a human.”
Carla Reis (she/her/hers) is a senior at Columbia College Chicago studying Fiction Writing, though she writes poetry and non-fiction alongside it all. Editorial Intern at Scapi Magazine. Originally from Miami, Fl, she fell in love with the Midwest. She is currently working on her first collection of short stories. You can find her best work at Not Your Mothers Breast Milk.