Waco art space Cultivate 7Twelve hopes to diversify its gallery

Cultivate 7Twelve is a local art gallery that aims to promote Waco's creative culture and host events. Photo courtesy of Cultivate 7Twelve

By Skylla Mumana | Reporter

Cultivate 7Twelve is an art gallery and event space located in the heart of downtown Waco. The gallery has a special turnover system for switching its art out, with main gallery pieces being switched out every two months, and the back gallery being switched every trimester.

Sarah Beth Rogers, Baylor alumna and gallery manager at Cultivate 7Twelve, said its new system ensures that the gallery fosters more artistic voices, all while diversifying its art.

“As we’re starting to bring in more people we’re hoping to diversify the voices that are in here,” Rogers said. “To start finding newer artists, younger artists, black and brown artists, people who are in the LGBTQ community and the disabled community, that’s a big goal of ours.”

As part of that initiative, Cultivate 7Twelve is starting a new project known as the Synthesis Project to take place in the back room of the art space. The project is set to launch later in the year, and will serve as a gathering place for young artists, writers, musicians and theater performers to come and build community together.

The leader of this project, Stefanie Wheat Johnson, works for Creative Waco, a local arts agency that supports the cultural and creative community in the city and mentors creatives. She’s hoping to find artists who are young in their journey to come and display their work or perform. She also hopes that Baylor students and faculty will come and show their work as well.

“In my experience, there is not a lot of professional development for artists and creatives in general,” Johnson said. “I think it’s really important when you’re at any university to find ways to connect with the community and get to know where you are, because you never know what kind of connections will come out of that afterwards.”

As a whole, Rogers, Johnson and other staff and patrons of Cultivate 7Twelve are hoping for the space to serve as a guiding light for the art community in Waco. They also hope that those who aren’t familiar with the gallery can learn something from its art.

“Our space is a really good representation of the beauty and the little things in Waco,” Rogers said. “As Waco is growing and changing, it’s inviting different people into the city. Just know that [the artwork is] little snapshots about what people love and value about the city that we’re in.”

The founder of Cultivate 7Twelve, Rebecca Hagmin, opened the gallery about five years ago. Hagmin and her husband moved to Waco for a fresh start, and noticed that while there were very limited spaces to show art in the city, there were plenty of artists. At the time, downtown Waco had been reinventing itself into the vibrant culture district that it is today. After encountering a mock gallery being held at an empty building space, she contacted the original building owner and started renting it out in hopes of creating a gallery to showcase the talent she saw.

While the gallery does feature artists from outside the McLennan County area, the art within the gallery is mainly filled by local artists. It features names that the Baylor community is familiar with, such as Marygrace Green, an alumna, and Greg Lewallen, a senior lecturer in the department of art and art history. The Baylor community can enjoy the Waco scene through Cultivate 7Twelve with its many events and artwork opportunities.