Westminster Press Welcomes Makers, Artists and Shoppers to Cherokee and Compton
Two white guys. Two Washington University degrees. One new business on Cherokee. Two zines dedicated to drag queens and “spreads of beautiful men spreading it.”
As of Dec. 5, the yellow door at Cherokee and Compton is now home to Westminster Press, headed by Business Manager Nick Curry and Art Director Tucker Pierce, and a bevy of makers, fine artists, interns, students and shoppers. Most importantly, it aims to be a home for voices that otherwise have to fight for inclusion, an intention the duo set with Saturday’s opening night.
They opened the space for a night of beer (thanks, Earthbound Brewery!), snacks, music and socializing with friendly, passionate supporters.
To help kick off the debut, local artists Emmeline Solomon, Catalina Ouyang, Lauren Cardenas and Cole Lu filled half of the space with original pieces. Some like Ouyang’s “kittytuna” andLu’s window installation “Soft Architecture,” speak directly to Westminster Press’s mission to promote work made by artists of marginalized identities.
In an interview on the Westminster Press blog, Lu explained, “As a visual artist who is not only a noncitizen queer female, but also an outsider in arts before, I have always caught myself feeling dysphoric, even anxious of my own placement.”
In the gallery, guests are instructed to go outside and around the corner to take in the large-scale sign, “which was inspired by Lisa Robertson’s essay,” she explains. “I interpret this piece simply as a sense of belonging.”
Other pieces, such as Cardenas’ “Beyond Clueless” and Solomon’s “Breath (history) / Breath (lungs),”consider universal concepts like intimacy and the ways everyday life is made into an epic. Fittingly, the opposite wall is full of art pieces for everyday living.
Guests could take home everything from woven scarves, wall hangings and throw pillows to meme-ready buttons and greeting cards. Many shoppers had come through earlier in the day for Cherokee Street’s Print Bazaar. The display of items from local makers like Enamel, Bear and Otter and Butt’n Booty connects shoppers with local creatives just in time for the holidays.
“It was amazing to see how many people turned out to support the makers and artists represented in our storefront and gallery,” Curry reflected on Sunday night. “The guests were this amazing blend of Cherokee locals, friends and family of the Metro Trans Umbrella Group, members of the wider art community, and folks who just heard about us online or through word of mouth.”
Saturday’s opening was truly a celebration of a community coming home.