Sara Radin is a writer and curator living in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Full time, she is the Youth Culture Editor for WGSN. Outside of work, Sara is the co-founder of It’s Not Personal and she has previously curated 20+ events including workshops, pop-up exhibits and more in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal and London.
Recently, Sara and I met to discuss her work in today’s political climate, and about her current project, a growing anthology and collective that creates opportunities for women to share their dating experiences in a positive environment.
Greenpointers: What was your initial reaction to the 2016 elections?
Sara: At first, the election results were numbing. I felt physically weak and totally powerless. I spent some time grieving the loss and taking care of myself. Then I realized that I must keep going and that I have an opportunity to use my voice as a platform for change. With that said, I will continue to write and curate events that speak to my experience as a young woman, but moving forward, I’m going to think both bigger and smaller. Through my project, It’s Not Personal, I will continue organizing workshops, exhibits and publishing opportunities that give women a platform to share their dating experiences. What’s changed is that now my co-founder and I, Vanessa Gattinella (another Greenpoint resident) are working towards giving back in everything that we do. Currently, we’re planning our first big event, with proceeds going to RAINN, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the US. Additionally, this year I am mentoring a teen girl who’s a writer through a program called Girls Write Now. I hope to inspire her to speak up for herself. I’m also realizing that small gestures can go a long way. To me, that means going out of my way to be kind, honest, and supportive of others.
GP: How have you used art to respond to what is going on?
SR: Writing has helped me process everything that’s going on. Bust Magazine Online recently published my latest essay on healing and creating after the election. It felt really good to get that out. Plus, I’ve been sharing my honest thoughts on social media. While I’m not holding back on how I feel, these platforms are only a starting point. It’s important to get offline, to engage in real dialogues, protest whenever you can, and help push your community forward.I’m constantly asking myself: What can I do to affect real change?
GP: How have you opened yourself up to opposing viewpoints and opened channels for communications with people with different backgrounds?
SR: I’m still struggling with this one. Like so many others, I got in a fight with a loved one post-election, which made Thanksgiving really difficult. The holiday wasn’t easy but I remembered what Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high,” and I immediately felt more self-aware. I was able to take a step back from politics and be kind to others, despite their political beliefs. I came away from that experience much stronger.
GP: What can artists and community members do locally to help enact social change?
SR: Pick an organization to get involved with, something that feels personal to you – Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are so important, but try looking into smaller, more grassroots initiatives. They desperately need funding too. Organize a small gathering so you and your loved ones can talk out how you feel. Dialogue is key and sharing ideas on how to make a difference really helps. Plus, stay informed about current political issues. I’ve never been a particularly political person, but this isn’t about politics anymore.
GP: Can you tell me more about your background and It’s Not Personal?
SR: I was always a creative kid growing up, so I decided to go to art school with little idea of what I wanted to do with my life. For years, I was totally lost creatively. Then, I fell into the fashion industry through a college internship. From there, I got a job at Converse, and started organizing company craft hours, field trips, and an exhibition program that gave my coworkers an opportunity to show their creative work around the office. After that, I started curating all different kinds of events on my own through a past project called cultureisland. Although I’ve since given that project up and changed full time jobs a few times, collaboration and community building are still imperative to my creative practice.
Now, I’m focused on developing my project It’s Not Personal, which is a growing anthology and a female dating collective. It’s a platform that allows women to share their dating stories. So far, we’ve hosted five workshops (4 at the New Women Space in East Williamsburg and 1 in London), and received over 100 submissions from places as far as Canada, Italy, and California. We’ve also established a monthly column with Bust Magazine Online. Our ultimate goal is to create a large-scale exhibition and a published book of art and writing that speaks to the female dating experience today. We’re still accepting submissions so ladies, send your art & writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook group!
GP: What are your goals for this year as an artist and an organizer?
SR: After three years of curating events, I feel like I have a much stronger sense of self today. This year I will continue hustling and seizing growth opportunities, but I also plan to make more time for resting and self-care than I have in the past. In 2017, I hope to get more of my writing published and host more workshops for It’s Not Personal outside of New York.