Alexa Sheets, “Facets” Founder

Facet (‘fæs It): 1. One side of something many-sided, especially of a cut gem 2. A particular aspect or feature of something

I wrote my senior thesis on the Harlem Renaissance. While researching the topic, I learned that one of the reasons that Harlem was considered the center of the movement was because it was one of the largest African-American communities in the nation. Harlem was brimming with African-Americans from all sorts of geographic, educational, and socio-economic backgrounds. In New York‒and throughout the rest of the country‒Black artists, musicians, and writers were producing works that would change the way that Black American culture was viewed by the rest of the world.

In many ways, Facets is my attempt at creating a similar type of archive. My main goal in starting this project is to give African-American artists a platform. I want to create a sort of collective of visual artists, musicians, composers, poets, essayists, playwrights, filmmakers, dancers, clothing designers, and other creators who use their works to shed light on the various aspects of Black culture. There are so many different folks with different experiences, and different views on African-American life, and this is a place for them to share their works and their stories.

My hope is that readers of every age, gender, and background will be able to find people, stories, and works that they identify with. As one of my favorite professors likes to say, “Art makes us more human,” and it has affected the way that I think about and interact with all types of art. Considering the current social and political climate, I think the vulnerability and compassion that art can evoke is critical, perhaps now more than ever. I launched this project in the hopes of creating space for people to come and feel more human, if only for a little while.