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By Brian McCulloch
This Wednesday evening, Eugenia Alexander will be the featured artist for the World Chess Hall of Fame’s (WCHOF) monthly “Sip and Sketch” creative programming. Alexander will lead patrons in an exercise based on the process artist Tom Hackney followed to create his exhibition presently on display at the WCHOF, Tom Hackney: Corresponding Squares: Painting the Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp.
Alexander, inspired by her grandmother’s artwork and career, began painting in high school. What started off as a hobby ultimately turned into a passion. She began working at WCHOF as a gallery attendant nearly three years ago—a move that has only served to further advance her artistic endeavors.
“Working at the WCHOF has definitely influenced me,” Alexander said. “I didn’t really take my artistic talents seriously until I started working here.”
In the past six months, Alexander hosted her first solo exhibition and was the first African American woman to exhibit solo at SOHA. She also had her work chosen for the front and back covers of St. Louis magazine All the Art.
“When you are around people that are very passionate about art and love art as much as you do, you can’t help but be inspired,” Alexander said.
This sense of comradery amongst friends and coworkers has instilled in Alexander an understanding of the importance of community. “Eventually I would like to create a community arts center for inner city youth,” Alexander said.
She envisions as a place where young people can go to learn about art, specifically black artists, and create works of their own. Alexander’s long term goals will be greatly influenced by what she has been doing and continues to do with her own work. “I like to tell stories through my work,” Alexander said, adding that eventually she would like to exhibit her work in other cities and countries.
Similar to Tom Hackney’s, Alexander’s work is distinguished by abstract shapes. Geometric patterns in her work come from influence of African and Native American cultures and are reminiscent of her grandmother’s stitchwork as well.
Alexander is continuing the family art tradition by passing down her passion to her two-year-old son, Caron. When Alexander sits down to paint, Caron isn’t ever too far away. In fact, Alexander usually sets up paper and brushes so Caron can draw with her. When he’s not working on his own, Caron likes to give Alexander his input on her work. “He’ll watch me paint and tell me what he likes about it, or tell me that it looks beautiful, or assist me with things like telling me what colors he likes,” Alexander said.
Sip and Sketch is hosted by the World Chess Hall of Fame. Admission is $5 and includes light hors d'oeuvres, beer, wine and soda. The program is free for members; one of many perks of an annual World Chess Hall of Fame membership. To RSVP for Eugenia’s “Sip & Sketch” event this Wednesday, email: firstname.lastname@example.org and to learn more about additional programs, membership and more, visit: http://worldchesshof.org/.