Latest Gamma Xi Phi News

Gamma Chapter Reactivates in Newark, New Jersey

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The Gamma Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity was officially reactivated on May 4, 2019, with the induction of three new members. The ceremony was attended by Alpha and Beta Chapter members, and was officiated by National President Sharnell Bryan.
Gamma Chapter was chartered on June 9, 2014, in the city of Newark, New Jersey, by Gamma Xi Phi Founders Malcolm Minor and Nicole Stewart, who were in attendance at the induction ceremony.

Gamma Chapter initiates with Brittany Jordan (Alpha Chapter), Nicole Stewart, and Malcom Minor.

Treasure Borde is a New Jersey-based poet, actress and educator with a degree in communication from Montclair State University. Borde is also a Newark, NJ native and longtime friend of Founder Malcolm Minor.

Keivon Hemmings, also known as Blind Eyez, is a Newark-based artist with a focus on hip-hop. Hemmings is a Ramapo College graduate with a bachelors degree in music, and also a longtime friend of Founder Malcolm Minor.

Dennis K. Philbert is a graduate of Newark’s Central High School and holds a bachelor of arts degree from Rutgers University, where he majored in Theatre Arts, Dramatic Arts and Speech. Dennis has performed in Off-Broadway plays, commercials, and appeared on television shows such as Blue Bloods, Madame Secretary, and a PBS special of the Shakespeare Sonnets, where he played a historian.

Gamma Chapter gifts

With the reactivation of the Gamma Chapter, Minor anticipates a new beginning and future activities in store that will contribute to the growth of Gamma Xi Phi and the Gamma Chapter. “We’re looking forward to what Gamma can bring to the city of Newark,” he said.

Sharnell BryanGamma Chapter Reactivates in Newark, New Jersey
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Epsilon Chapter Chartered at Towson University

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(l-r): Michael McDermott (Beta Chapter); Epsilon Chapter charter members Bala Mahmoud, Lauren-Marie Aba Amoah, Maia Fulton, Kailah Christopher, Jordan Ann Estelle Hendricks, Lauren Maiden; and Marifel Bermudez (Beta Chapter).

On March 3, 2019, the Epsilon Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi was chartered on the campus of Towson University in Towson, MD, by six new members in a ceremony attended by brothers and sisters of Beta Chapter. The induction was officiated by National President Sharnell Bryan, and remarks were sent via video by Gamma Xi Phi founder Malcolm Minor.

The newest chapter of Gamma Xi Phi was the dream of Towson students Michael McDermott, Marifel Bermudez and Ariana Garvin, who were inducted into the Beta Chapter in Washington, DC, on December 8, 2018. The students then worked together to bring the professional fraternity for artists to its campus by introducing Gamma Xi Phi to the arts community of students. This is the first undergraduate chapter since the fraternity’s founding in 2010.

Epsilon Chapter with National President Sharnell Bryan (center).

Lauren-Marie Aba Amoah is a junior politicial science and Chinese major originally from the United Kingdom, and her artistic focus is photography. She currently resides in Towson and wishes to pursue a career in journalism.

Bala Mahmoud is a junior double-major in Electronic Media & Film and Graphic Design, with a minor in African-American Studies. Originally from Bowie, MD, he currently resides in Gaithersburg, MD, when not on campus and will begin his graphic designer career after graduation.

Kailah Christopher was born in Bronx, NY, and raised in Silver Spring, MD. She is a junior Electronic Media & Film major, and has a goals to become a writer and director in film adn television, as well as assist filmmakers in bringing their stories to life via production.

Maia Fulton is a senior Electronic Media & Film major with a minor in Theatre Arts from Baltimore, MD. After graduating, she plans to pursue an acting career.

Lauren Maiden, from Columbia, MD, is a junior Mass Communications major with a focus on journalism and public relations, and would like to pursue television writing with her degree.

Jordan Ann Estelle Hendricks is an Art & Design major with a focus on sculpture from Baltimore, MD, by way of Brooklyn, NY. She will pursue a career as a full-time artist after graduation.

Beta Chapter, Epsilon Chapter, and National President Sharnell Bryan.

The Epsilon Chapter hosted its first Odeon on March 12, 2019 where they were officially introduced to the Towson University community as new members and had the opportunity to showcase their visual arts in a gallery setting.

Sharnell BryanEpsilon Chapter Chartered at Towson University
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Beta Chapter Welcomes the Fall 2018 Class

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On December 8, 2018, the Beta Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi inducted six new members into its Fall 2018 class, the largest since the fraternity’s founding in 2010. Located in Washington, District of Columbia, the Beta Chapter was chartered on October 3, 2011. The Fall 2018 ceremony was attended by chapter members as well as members from the Alpha Chapter at Ramapo College and Delta Chapter of New York City. The induction was officiated by National President Sharnell Bryan. 

The Fall 2018 Beta Chapter members are Marifel Bermudez, Ariana Garvin, Melanie Hatter, Michael McDermott, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Markell “BuddahDesmond” Williams. 

Marifel Bermudez was born in Laurel, Maryland, and currently studies at Towson University in the  Undergraduate Art + Design program with a concentration in Sculpture. She works in various medias, exploring fibers, sculpture,  installation, and performance art. She creates linear, geometric forms that are vibrant in color. Bermudez’s works embraces natural textures and fabricated forms in working relationship within a piece. Her works often question self-discovery and growth. In additions to sculptural forms, she produces clothing that communicates a message or theme through her garments. Bermudez’s hope is that her works create a new perception of the conventional materials presented upon the viewer, creating a more personal connection. 



Ariana Garvin is a dedicated film student at Towson University. Originally from Prince George’s County, MD, Ariana started out acting in church and school plays when she began newscasting for middle and high school morning announcements. Since then, she has fostered her love for film production with the help of her supportive family, friends, and mentors. Ariana has been active in organizations, such as the Student Government Association and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee, and is an advocate for education, serving the adolescent youth in Baltimore. Ariana is currently a member of the Black Student Union, National Council of Negro Women, and The Lunch Table Blog Show. 

Melanie S. Hatter is a published novelist. Her second novel, Malawi’s Sisters was selected by Edwidge Danticat as the winner of the inaugural Kimbilio National Fiction Prize and will be published in the spring of 2019 by Four Way Books. Her debut novel, The Color of My Soul, won the 2011 Washington Writers’ Publishing House Fiction Prize, and her short story collection, Let No One Weep for Me, Stories of Love and Loss, was published in 2015. She serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and is a participating author in the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Writers in Schools program. Melanie received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hampton University and a Master of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University.

Michael McDermott is an intermediate artist and creative director based in the DC metropolitan area. Currently attending Towson University as an Advertising major with a marketing minor, he seeks to enter the field of public relations and mass media, allowing him to use different art forms to further the careers of others. Michael concentrates in voice, graphic design & digital illustration as well as photography. His primary medium of choice is photography, and uses photography to manifest abstract concepts through creative makeup, locations, and clothing. He strives to inspire others to follow their untapped dreams through artistic representation, and is passionate about bringing small ideas to life.

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry and two memoirs. For fourteen years Miller has been the editor of Poet Lore, the oldest poetry magazine published in the United States. In April 2015, Miller was inducted into the Washington, DC Hall of Fame.In 2016, he received the AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the DCMayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. Miller currently serves on the faculty at the University of Houston/Victoria and hosts the weekly morning radio show On the Margin which airson WPFW-FM 89.3. The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, published in 2016 by Willow Books, is a comprehensive collection that represents over 40 years of his career as a poet. Miller’s most recent book is If God Invented Baseball, published by City Point Press.

Markell Williams, also known as BuddahDesmond (aka BDez) is a writer, poet, singer, artist, cook / baker, and a budding nutritionist based in the DMV. His work highlights the gritty side of life, while offering messages of hope, love, healing, and resilience. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, Prevail: Poems on Love, Life, and Politics (2012) and Exotic Shifter (2014). His writing has appeared in numerous publications including MOOVMUSED, and MelaNation. He has performed at venues and events such as Busboys and Poets, The Summit 2017: Healing Through Faith & Justice, Healing & Solidarity Through the Arts, The Ask Rayceen Show, the DC Metro Scholastic Writing Awards, the OutWrite LGBT Book Festival, and the Baltimore African American Book Festival. He is currently a healing leader in the DC-based arts + faith + social justice organization, The Sanctuaries. His next project, From The Inside Out, is currently in-progress.

In remarks following the induction ceremony, members congratulated the Fall 2018 class, and said they anticipate great works coming from their collaboration. “Art is a life form that chooses us,” said National President Sharnell Bryan. “Gamma Xi Phi has chosen you just as art has chosen you.”

Gamma Xi Phi was founded on October 7, 2010, by Ramapo College men and women who were interested in creating strong bonds between students pursuing artistic careers. The purpose of the fraternity is to unite collegiate and professional artists in the spirit of fellowship and perpetual artistic growth. Gamma Xi Phi promotes philanthropy and service to the arts, brotherhood among all artists, and leadership development in artistic professions through collegiate and community outreach to people of color across the world.

Sharnell BryanBeta Chapter Welcomes the Fall 2018 Class
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Delta Chapter Welcomes the Fall 2018 Class

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The Delta Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi inducted two new members on October 7, 2018, the fraternity’s 8th Founders Day. Delta Chapter was chartered on October 8, 2016, and services the five boroughs of New York City. The newest members were initiated in a ceremony attended by members of Alpha Chapter at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Beta Chapter of Washington, DC, and Gamma Chapter of Newark, New Jersey. The ceremony was officiated by National President Sharnell Bryan.

Baron Wright is CEO and Founder of CreateX Retreats, a lifestyle experience company and BaronArts, a leadership development and creative arts system. As a Certified Coach with over a decade of coaching, analysis, and management experience, he uses creative strategies to achieve breakthrough results for his clients. Baron is a professional recording, spoken, and performance artist, graphic designer, and motivational speaker who is a recipient of the Nations United Award for Creativity, Out Hip Hop Award and Excellence in Photography. He inspires people to find the power in their voice and to live a life of their design. He is passionate about empowering people to develop their personal life’s vision to create passion, clarity & certainty.

Steven Van Patten is a celebrated writer and Brooklyn native. He has penned five novels; The Brookwater’s Curse trilogy is about an 1860s Georgia plantation slave who becomes a vampire. Killer Genius: She Kills Because She Cares, features a hyper intelligent black woman who becomes a serial killer. The sequel, Killer Genius 2: Attack of The Gym Rats dropped in late 2018. Van Patten’s short horror fiction has appeared in Hell’s Kitties, Shadows of Deathlehem and New York State of Fright. He also has a children’s book, Rudy’s Night Out, which is loosely based on the childhood of one of the characters from the Brookwater’s Curse series.

Gamma Xi Phi was founded on October 7, 2010, by Ramapo College men and women who were interested in creating strong bonds between students pursuing artistic careers. The purpose of the fraternity is to unite collegiate and professional artists in the spirit of fellowship and perpetual artistic growth. Gamma Xi Phi promotes philanthropy and service to the arts, brotherhood among all artists, and leadership development in artistic professions through collegiate and community outreach to people of color across the world.

In remarks following the ceremony, President Sharnell Bryan expressed the significance of welcoming new members on the 8th anniversary of Gamma Xi Phi’s founding. “We look forward to working with our newest Brothers, and I am very glad to have been a part of their introduction to Gamma Xi Phi. We are a young organization, but with the support of our members, I am looking forward to more outstanding work and representation of who we are.”

 

 

Sharnell BryanDelta Chapter Welcomes the Fall 2018 Class
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The War Against the Arts Begins

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“GE hires a lot of engineers. We want young people who can do more than add up a string of numbers and write a coherent sentence. They must be able to solve problems, communicate ideas and be sensitive to the world around them. Participation in the arts is one of the best ways to develop these abilities.”

– Clifford V. Smith, President of the General Electric Foundation

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I write this message on my own, without prior consent from the Gamma Xi Phi Board of Trustees.  It is an editorial which does not necessarily reflect the beliefs or policies of GXP at this moment.

This week, President Donald J. Trump proposed a national budget which proposes elimination of funding for:

  • The National Endowment for the Arts
  • The National Endowment for the Humanities
  • The Institute of Library and Museum Services, and
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Total funding for these vital programs comes in at well under a billion dollars and .02 percent of the overall federal budget.

Some of you may think that the NEA, for example, only serves the artistic elite in Hollywood or major urban areas on the east coast.  Well, that’s not true.  In 2016, the NEA awarded 2,400 grants across every congressional district across America. That money wasn’t earmarked just for large arts groups–over half went to small and medium sized artistic organizations.

Friend, I am worried.  Not for the District of Columbia or New York or Chicago.  I am worried for Omaha, Nebraska.  For Tulsa, Oklahoma.  For Southampton County, Virginia. For Flint, Michigan.  For small towns across America with a single museum.  For those towns who have an emerging cultural awareness.

What’s going to happen to them?  How will they continue to document their stories, to build artistic economies, and to preserve their culture?

I want for you to join the call for Congress to save the arts–not just the NEA, but all four programs which are being threatened.  Call your Congressional representatives today.  Yes, that includes the introverts in the room.  I hate making phone calls, but these calls are logged and it does make a difference.

If you’re looking for what to say, visit the Americans for the Arts’ Arts Mobilization Center.

As a member of an arts fraternity, I am deeply troubled by the callousness with which this administration has treated the arts and humanities.  We will have to work together, across artistic disciplines and across party lines in order to ensure that our nation continues to be a global leader.  The war on the arts has begun and we need all available hands to join the fight.

Sincerely,

Rashid Darden,
National President of Gamma Xi Phi

Gamma Xi PhiThe War Against the Arts Begins
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Delta Chapter Established in New York City

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Gamma Xi Phi, the professional fraternity for artists, announces the chartering of its newest chapter. Delta Chapter, chartered on October 8, 2016, will serve the five boroughs of New York City.

Five new members were initiated in a ceremony attended by members of the National Board of Trustees, honorary members, and Brothers and Sisters from Alpha Chapter at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Beta Chapter in the District of Columbia.  

Gamma Xi PhiDelta Chapter Established in New York City
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“I Have Help From a Village” – Beta Chapter Selects 2016 Young Artisans

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program logo - young artisans awards

District of Columbia artists Sean Defreitas and Jeneesah Tate (also known as Ja’ness) have been selected as the 2016 Young Artisans for Gamma Xi Phi’s Beta Chapter in Washington, DC. The award is the highest honor that the fraternity bestows upon youth.

“We are so happy and so proud to support these students, who represent the best of Washington’s emerging talent,” said Beta Chapter Program Director Shawn Spencer.

The Young Artisans Awards initiative was created by Gamma Xi Phi in 2015 to honor emerging artists living within the service areas of the chapters. The selected artists must display both artistic merit and artistic citizenship, including a willingness to learn, grow, serve, and be mentored.  The Beta Chapter, serving the District of Columbia, selected two students after months of research and observation of young artists living within the chapter’s domain.

Sean Defreitas is a student attending the Latin American Youth Center Career Academy, located in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, DC.  His artistic interests are varied and include graphic design, photography, music, and fashion.  His mother and other family members are also engaged in the arts, namely music, visual art, and crafts.  Mr. Defreitas came highly recommended by the faculty and staff of LAYC Career Academy.

Ja’ness (Jeneesah Tate) is a Junior attending the historic Duke Ellington School of the Arts.  She is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter who has already created a name for herself in the Washington area and beyond through many public performances at festivals and music venues.  Coming from a long line of artists, Ja’ness strives to create a career that complements, but is independent from, her already successful family members.

Over the next few months, the awardees will benefit from the full support of Brothers and Sisters of Beta Chapter and beyond.  Members will provide the students with support and connections to working artists.  In March 2016, the awardees will participate in the Young Artisans Combine, a private day of training, coaching, and mentoring with some of the Washington area’s most notable artists and professionals. In May 2016, the awardees will officially be presented to the community in a ceremony at Beta Chapter’s Odeon, a community talent show.

(L-R) Mr. Atif Tate, Beta Chapter Young Artisan 2016 Ja’ness, Chapter Program Director Shawn Spencer

(L-R) Ms. Crystal Defreitas, Beta Chapter Young Artisan 2016 Sean Defreitas, National President Rashid Darden

National President Rashid Darden, who is a Washington-based novelist and member of Beta Chapter, expressed his pride at the selection of Ja’ness and Sean, saying “We needed humble students who would be their authentic, artistic selves when they didn’t expect that anyone was evaluating them.  That’s the beauty of the first year of this initiative–without the fanfare of previous years, we were able to find the most deserving students who weren’t just seeking accolades for their resumes.”

Mr. Atif Tate, father of Ja’ness, said that due to this honor, his daughter’s “…positive actions towards her dreams are being noticed by others outside her family–which gives her more confidence to keep pushing through.” He added “I have help from a village. My advice to other parents is to invest your time and energy into their dreams now and help them develop so this experience will help them grow into something great.”

Gamma Xi Phi was founded on October 7, 2010, by Ramapo College men and women who were interested in creating strong bonds between students pursuing artistic careers. The purpose of the fraternity is to unite collegiate and professional artists in the spirit of fellowship and perpetual artistic growth. Gamma Xi Phi promotes philanthropy and service to the arts, brotherhood among all artists, and leadership development in artistic professions through collegiate and community outreach to people of color across the world.

Gamma Xi Phi“I Have Help From a Village” – Beta Chapter Selects 2016 Young Artisans
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District of Columbia Chapter Hosts Creative Conversation

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The Washington, DC chapter of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity hosted a Creative Conversation as part of the organization’s National Arts and Humanities Month observances.  The theme of the discussion was “Linking Young Artists to Opportunities.”

Held at the Greater Tried Stone Baptist Church, a favorite venue of the Beta Chapter, members of the community were invited to share their ideas for how the fraternity may best serve young artists in the Washington area.  Invited guests included working artists, leaders of arts nonprofit organizations, and other members of organizations with arts components.  The chapter provided a light lunch and lively discussion ensued.

Action items that the group provided to the fraternity will help develop the local implementation of the fraternity’s Young Artisans Awards program.

Gamma Xi PhiDistrict of Columbia Chapter Hosts Creative Conversation
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Gamma Xi Phi Members Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of Founding

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On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, chapters of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity participated in local celebrations commemorating the fifth anniversary of the founding of the organization.  Since that first day at Ramapo College of New Jersey, Gamma Xi Phi has grown in membership and in number of chapters.  Nationally, the fraternity took to social media to celebrate its birthday.  Locally, members assembled with one another in fellowship, toasting to the past and looking forward to a brighter future.

Gamma Xi PhiGamma Xi Phi Members Celebrate Fifth Anniversary of Founding
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Happy Fifth Anniversary, Gamma Xi Phi

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Rashid Darden, National President of Gamma Xi Phi

Rashid Darden, National President of Gamma Xi Phi

In 2110, by the grace of God, someone will call my name as the 3rd National President of a century-old fraternity for artists.  Perhaps there will be some three dimensional portrait of me in a historical exhibit with all the other past National Presidents.  Maybe there will be some bullet points with the major accomplishments of my administration.  If I’m lucky, someone will be there, not who remembers me, but remembers someone who remembers me.

But one thing is certain:  I will not be alive in 2110.  So I’d better do a damn good job at being a National President if I want to be remembered.  I’d better make sure that every Founders’ Day is a milestone for our beloved fraternity.

Today, Gamma Xi Phi is five years old.  Students attending Ramapo College of New Jersey came together five years ago with an idea for a new fraternity, one established for artists of all crafts.  Years later, the fraternity has already grown into something far greater in size and scope than our original members could have expected.  It has experienced this growth because it is fundamentally a good organization that has come at the right time.

I am proud of each and every one of our members, from the charter members of Alpha Chapter to our newest initiates.  Gamma Xi Phi Brothers and Sisters are on the move, sculpting monuments in Washington, performing on tour in Europe and Africa, studying in graduate programs in New York, and hosting popular podcasts in New Jersey.  We have done a lot in five years and we are not stopping any time soon.  Through the years, Gamma will grow in size, in strength, and in influence due to our wonderful members.

But we can’t do it alone.  To our families, friends, and supporters:  If you believe, as we do, that Gamma Xi Phi is a good organization, we ask that you spread this simple message to the artists in your life:

You are not alone.  There is an organization out there for men and women in the arts.  They are waiting for you.  They need you, and while you might not know it now, you need them as well.  They are a group of great folks: literary artists, visual artists, performing artists, and professionals in arts-serving careers.  They have an awesome national program of artistic service that I think you’d like.  Check them out:  www.GammaXiPhi.com.

Gamma Xi Phi will exist in 2110, certainly without me, but I must do my part to make sure that it is a greater organization than I could have imagined. If you are an artist, join us.  If you are a friend, help us.  These past five years have been a nice start, but we have only just begun to build our legacy.

Happy fifth anniversary to my Brothers and Sisters.  Thank you, one and all.

Rashid Darden,
National President

 

 

Gamma Xi PhiHappy Fifth Anniversary, Gamma Xi Phi
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