Amplifying the impact of Black art

WSU Women*s Center hosts Black art, poetry exhibition though Feb. 28.



“Untitled” by Sophia Zarders at the WSU Women’s Center’s Black History Month Exhibit, Feb. 22.


“Each match lined in my path will be 

Ignited by the flames of my fortitude. 

Here I pour in the gasoline I am

Adversity will come in like a gust of 

wind, but I am the fire that oxygen


And yes, daunting things will begin to 

flood like a great tsunami, but I refuse 

to be put out.

The electricity that runs through my

veins remains untouched by any amount

of salt that could be poured on me.

I am the product of strength and fearlessness.”

– Junior psychology major Amari Skyler Lowery

At the WSU Women*s Center, Lowery’s poem “Burnt Matches” sits framed in the lobby’s center table, waiting for the next reader. 

Lowery created the poem at the start of the pandemic, she wrote in her artist statement. It represents her feelings toward loss, heartbreak and making difficult decisions during that time. 

“It describes my ability to have strength during times of adversity,” she wrote. “When I got accepted into WSU, it sparked something within myself and I created this poem.” 

In celebration of Black History Month, the Women*s Center is holding an artist exhibition for Black artists and poets to showcase their work. The exhibit is open from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Feb. 22-28, according to their Instagram post. 

Located in the basement of Wilson-Short Hall and decorated with a banner, the entrance to the center welcomes students to the exhibition. Past the lobby where Lowery’s poem and the contemporary PowerPoint reside, multiple art pieces add vibrant color as they display along the walls. Each piece of art comes with a short artist statement explaining the work and its creative vision. 

Le’Dashia Orndorff, senior kinesiology pre-med major and Women*s Center program assistant student coordinator, had the idea and helped organize the project. 

“Some of the art we have [displayed] are submissions from WAZZU students, some people from Seattle and someone from UW,” Orndorff said.” Some of the other art we have displayed is art we got off an app called Amplifier and a lot of it is social justice artwork and it is all free artwork for us to print out.” 

One piece showcased from Amplifier is an untitled work by Sophie Zarder. It rages with a message to smash islamophobia, racism, sexism and other forms of oppression. 

“The result of the 2016 election devastated communities across the United States,” Zarder wrote in her artist statement. “But it sparked a fire in thousands of people to make their voices heard.” 

Orndorff said the center is considering dedicating a room or hallway to keep the artwork and gradually add to it after the exhibit. 

“We want people to be educated; we want people to see that Black voices are being amplified, and it’s important to us as a center that they are,” Orndorff said. “We are a resource. We are here to educate. We are to be here for people [and] we really want people to know that.”

To view the various artworks displayed at the Black History Month art exhibition, visit the Women*s Center located in Wilson-Short 8 and contact Orndorff at [email protected], with any questions.