Latest Gamma Xi Phi News

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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Celebrating National Arts & Humanities Month

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Every stroke of the brush, stitch of the needle, or moment of the memoir uniquely marks our society and contributes to our national character.  This month, we recognize the ways the arts and humanities have forever changed our country, and we recommit to ensuring every American has the opportunity and the freedom to question, discover, and create. — Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

Washington, District of Columbia, October 1, 2015 – Gamma Xi Phi, the professional fraternity for artists, is participating in National Arts & Humanities Month, an annual celebration of culture coordinated by Americans for the Arts, through local and national programs and projects. Gamma Xi Phi members will commemorate the 30th anniversary of National Arts and Humanities Month by sharing their favorite works of art on social media with the tag #ShareYourArt, participating in local “Creative Conversations” with artists and arts administrators, and by celebrating the founding of Gamma Xi Phi in local chapter events on October 7, 2015.

Gamma Xi PhiCelebrating National Arts & Humanities Month
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District of Columbia Chapter Supports Honorary Member and Step Afrika

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On Saturday, September 26, 2015, after their regular chapter meeting, the members of Beta Chapter in Washington, DC, took a trip to see the culminating performance of the Step Afrika! Step Xplosion Tour.  A free performance series sponsored by the City Fund, Step Xplosion toured all eight wards of Washington and closed out in Ward 4 at the Raymond Recreation Center in the Petworth neighborhood.

Gamma Xi PhiDistrict of Columbia Chapter Supports Honorary Member and Step Afrika
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Newark Chapter of Arts Fraternity Co-Hosts Showcase

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The Newark, New Jersey Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity, in conjunction with the People’s Open Mic, co-hosted an Open Mic Showcase on Wednesday, September 15, 2015, at Newark’s Gallery Aferro. The Gallery is a staple in the Newark arts community.  Members of Gamma Chapter as well as individuals from the community participated in the showcase.

Gamma Xi PhiNewark Chapter of Arts Fraternity Co-Hosts Showcase
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Washington Artists Host Suicide Vigil

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program logo - check on meBeta Chapter of Gamma Xi Phi Professional Arts Fraternity held an Artists’ Vigil in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday, September 10, 2015.  Brothers and Sisters in the District of Columbia chapter welcomed the public to assemble in remembrance of those artists and entertainers who were lost to suicide and in support of those artists dealing with depression and other mental health issues.

Gamma Xi PhiWashington Artists Host Suicide Vigil
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