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Young Female Artists in Waco Find Support in Mammoth Collective

The Arts scene in Waco is constantly growing – especially among young artists. A group of artists known as Mammoth Collective have turned to each other for support and inspiration. 

On February 15,  the group of 8 women in their early to mid 20’s held their first gallery show as Mammoth Collective at the gallery space Cultivate 7Twelve in Downtown Waco. 

Mammoth Collective was founded by 22-year-old Julia Harmon and includes artists Rae Jefferson, Alice Fry, McKenzie Kolling, Jessica Just, Liz Houswright, Bailey Pajela and Morgan Eyring. Harmon said when she moved to Waco over a year ago she found a missing support system for artists her age. 

“I was just seeing like a lack of representation among like young female artists who were super ambitious," Harmon said. 

Harmon said the group – which began with 4 women - held a couple shows before taking a hiatus. 

“Then I moved into the house that I’m living in currently and we started doing shows out of my backyard," Harmon said. 

After she started working part time at Cultivate 7Twelve as an assistant retail manager – she decided to start expanding Mammoth Collective again. 

Harmon said the artists began preparing for the gallery show since last November – which involved group critiques and lots of installation planning. She also said having several months to work gives the artists enough time to experiment and hone in on their final pieces.  

“It’s good for us to keep making new work right now because that builds portfolio," Harmon said. 

For now Harmon plans to work on finishing the group’s website in order to have a platform to share upcoming events - as well as how to get involved with the group. She said she hopes Mammoth Collective will expand to other demographics in Waco as it grows to having three shows per year.  

Harmon also said she wants to provide a space where the community can come get to know the artists on with community dinners – an idea she is still working on perfecting, but one people can keep an eye out for. 

“You come, you hang out with the artists, we cook for you and we have good conversation and we’re also building a community of like cool people in Waco and like keeping it – keeping up with it," Harmon said. 

Director of Cultivate 7Twelve, Rebekah Hagman said the women of Mammoth Collective are bringing something to Waco that is needed among young creatives. 

“This is new, to have this kind of infrastructure available for artists, and I think it is really important and I think what Julia has decided to do with the Collective is providing an invaluable service for young female creatives in town," Hagman said.  "There wasn’t something like that.”

Morgan Eyring is one of the newer members of Mammoth Collective and has her pieces on display at the gallery. Her art combines natural elements like steel, wood and essential oils and combines geography to create an immersive experience for the viewer. 

She moved to Waco from Ohio over a year and a half ago after art school and took an office job – which she found out wasn’t for her. 

“I left that job and I now work at a metal shop for a custom furniture business and for a business that we create custom doors and windows," Eyring said. 

She said she met Harmon at an art show last Fall and the two bonded over their love of art. Eyring said when she moved here it was hard for her to find where her conceptual art had a place in Waco. 

"I didn’t really feel like my work really fit in anywhere  - so having the opportunity to be a part of a collective that that’s our main focus is really, really important," Eyring said. 

The group will hold an open panel to the public tonight, Feb. 21, at 5:45 p.m. at Cultivate 7Twelve for an in-depth look into the creation behind the pieces – which focus on a variety of topics including faith, vulnerability and femininity. 

Mammoth Collective's exhibition will be at Cultivate 7Twelveuntil February 28th. 

Kateleigh joined KWBU in January 2019. She is an Oklahoma native that is making the move to Waco after working as an All Things Considered host and producer at affiliate KOSU Radio in Oklahoma City. She is a former NPR Next Generation Radio Fellow, a Society of Professional Journalists award winner, an Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame recipient for ‘Outstanding Promise in Journalism’ and the Oklahoma Collegiate Media Association’s 2017 recipient for ‘College Newspaper Journalist of the Year.’ After finishing up her journalism degree early she decided to use her first year out of college to make the transition from print media to public radio. She is very excited to have joined KWBU and she is looking forward to all the opportunities it will bring - including providing quality journalism to all Texans.