Conceptualizing, visualizing, and creating art is both an exciting and intimidating journey for many aspiring artists. To address these joys and struggles that come with artistic endeavors, a group of students revived the Lucid Color Collective—an inclusive space for visual artists of color at the University—at the beginning of the Spring 2024 semester. The Lucid Color Collective offers a community that combats artistic hierarchy and facilitates a flow of limitless creativity.

“The Lucid Color Collective is a collective of visual artists from all different sorts of mediums,” Natalie Williams ’24 said. “It ranges from people that paint to those that do fashion design.”

The Lucid Color Collective originally centered on the art of the moving image, before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to go on hiatus. The post-COVID-19 absence of inclusive film-related spaces on campus initially spurred Williams to spearhead the revival of the Lucid Color Collective, collaborating with other members of SHADES, a theater collective for students of color. The group of students revamped the collective to include artists working with media beyond film.

“[SHADES Coordinator] Alisha [Simmons ’24] was just looking through SHADES’ Instagram and found Lucid Color because there was a joint event that they did in 2018,” Williams said. “There was no Instagram really for Lucid Color, but there was a Facebook and a website. It was this POC film thing, and they were like, ‘Natalie, look at this, it exists.’ I was like, ‘This is what I’ve been looking for for years’—but also specifically the past couple of years, when I was talking to other upperclassmen who were saying there needs to be a film equivalent [to SHADES]. The [film] major doesn’t really have that type of inclusion.”

Williams hopes the re-emergence of the Lucid Color Collective will bring back opportunities for student artists that were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I just didn’t know of anything going on [in the film community],” Williams said. “It’s intimidating as a freshman and a sophomore. No one talks about that. It’s even more intimidating when the space that you know about is homogenous, and I don’t see myself in that through [my] identity.” 

Over the most recent winter break, Williams and other SHADES members created a board for the Lucid Color Collective, advertising interest forms across campus. Williams emphasized the similar missions of SHADES and the Lucid Color Collective.

“The [Lucid Color Collective] board was created mostly by members of the SHADES board,” Williams said. “I think Lucid Color and SHADES are working collectively to be under that same umbrella.”

To prepare for the first showcase, the Lucid Color Collective board contacted artists and looked into the history of the collective.

“We wanted to have the [first] showcase in February, right when we [would] come back,” Williams said. “It was just a lot of coordinating with artists over break and just going to the archives and trying to get creative. Also, getting in contact with alumni to be like, ‘What are we trying to restart? Why did it end?’”

Through commitment and persistence, the first showcase successfully exhibited the artworks of various students on Feb. 23, 2024, in the Hewitt Workshop. Some students who participated in the showcase spoke about their artwork.

“It was a multimedia project, including sculpture, plaster, clothing, and jewelry,” Jazmin Alvarez ’26 said. “I installed a three-part piece which consisted of sculpture, clothing, accessorization, and a scrapbook, which is my personal diary. [The showcase] gave me the skills and space to kind of experiment with my own forms of style in terms of accessorization and styling.”

Siggy Soriano ’25 captured denim’s timeless popularity.

“I do a lot of sewing—that’s my favorite medium,” Soriano said. “I work with denim, and I recently made a denim trench coat. But I make these like pairs of jeans that are upside down. I just gain inspiration from sustainability and how I can be sustainable through fashion, because everyone wears clothes…. I was able to show jeans at the showcase.” 

Michael Fadugbagbe ’25 displayed pieces he previously made in a painting class, stressing his appreciation for the process of making art. 

“I installed these two pieces that I did in my Painting III [ARST350] class last semester,” Fadugbagbe said. “I use tar as a material, and I change the nature of the materials that I’m using. For example, the first piece was called ‘Rachel.’ It’s my little sister’s name. I cut rope to the length of my sister’s hair, which is about 42.5 inches. The rope is braided, it looks like hair when you tar it black. It’s on this raw canvas thing where I just attach hair onto. Then I have another rope that’s the length of my hair when it’s braided, and it’s, like, next to my sister’s hair. I call it a minimalist portrait because it takes the hair measurements and elements of me and my sister. What was interesting about that project was that I unintentionally realized I am really interested in the process and [in] showing evidence of process within the work.”

Participants in the showcase reflected on how empowering and meaningful the event was, circulating a flow of mutual support for one another. 

“I feel some certain types of insecurity in finding my own art,” Alvarez said. “So just having the freedom to explore, having that community and that strong sense of familial capital—it’s just so lovely because I feel more inclined and inspired to continue pursuing my passions. Even though I’m not an art studio major, it doesn’t mean that I can’t be involved in different ways.”

The intentions that Williams set for the Lucid Color Collective did not go unnoticed, motivating many emerging artists to pursue art in the future, build their confidence, and inspire others. 

“I feel—and I don’t say this lightly—like the imposter syndrome is at an all-time high for me right now this semester, and Lucid Color really alleviated that for me,” Alvarez said. “I was in my element. I was supported by people who kind of just get it, who say, ‘I hear you, I see you, and I acknowledge you.’”

Other artists reiterated the significance of building community for all, regardless of their major, skill, or experience.

“Not every person that was in [the] Lucid Color showcase are studio art majors or have those resources available to them,” Fadugbagbe said. “I think it’s really important to provide those opportunities with people that are outside of the studio art major. And that’s something that I’m really passionate about.” 

Supporting a club at the University comes with challenges. Looking ahead, the Lucid Color Collective hopes to become more embedded in student life with better institutional support.

“I would love to see collaboration from other student body groups, because there are so many spaces that have to do with identity on campus that I feel like we could all help on getting the word out,” Williams said. “I hear from a lot of other clubs that it’s really hard to get funding. They need a new system for that, because it should not be that hard, especially when established clubs are getting funding so easily because they’re established. I think that’s the most frustrating part about it: It’s the oldest and most mainstream organizations that are the ones that have the most funding.”

With high hopes and successful turnouts, the Lucid Color Collective seeks to foster a bright future of community, openness, and creativity. 

“I hope it makes people realize that their work is valid,” Soriano said. “I feel like a lot of POC artists are discouraged. Like, in the live music setting as well, a lot of bands here are majority white. There are a lot of artists here who don’t really have a space where they can showcase their art. I think that Lucid Colors is doing a really good job at making that space for people.”

Eugenia Shakhnovskaya can be reached at