York College grad breaking barriers with a brush

Lexus Gore, York College of Pennsylvania’s Appell Arts Fellow, has made it her mission to help underrepresented parts of the city cross into downtown, opening up a new world of possibilities for young artists. 

Written by: Anthony Machcinski
After graduating from York College of Pennsylvania, Lexus Gore was named the College’s Appell Arts Fellow – a distinction given to young artists to provide a gap year for developing and finding opportunities for their art. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Lexus Gore ’18 walked around Marketview Arts during a high school arts competition. The students represented different races, different genders and came from schools across the county – including York Tech and William Penn. 

While she was happy to see all of them, one question lingered.  

“Why aren’t they here on a more daily basis?” she asked. “There’s a lot of people in this city that we don’t touch.” 

Lexus, York College of Pennsylvania’s Appell Arts Fellow, has made it her mission to help underrepresented parts of the city cross into downtown, opening up a new world of possibilities for young artists.  

“In the north and west parts of the city, there’s a lot of kids that like art, but many of them haven’t been to any of the galleries downtown,” she explains. “It’s because no one leaves those areas. The north stays the north and downtown stays downtown.”  

York artist Ophelia Chambliss, right, reached out to Lexus Gore more than a year ago – feeling the need to encourage young, African American artists and offer a guiding hand. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Solving the problem

Ophelia Chambliss fought this battle before. The invisible divide between downtown and the rest of York is generations in the making and breaking that barrier isn’t easy.

The local York artist reached out to Lexus more than a year ago – feeling the need to encourage young, African American artists and offer a guiding hand.

Now, she’s given Lexus a blueprint on how to break that divide.

“Art has to be personal for them,” Ophelia says. “The one thing that brings people from all over the county together are their kids in some sort of art contest. When it comes to reaching these communities, it must be relevant to them.”

(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
(Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)
Lexus Gore has been helping her mentor Ophelia Chambliss with her own art projects, recently working together on a mural at the corner of East Philadelphia and North Pine streets. (Photos by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Developing a plan

The underrepresented neighborhoods in York Lexus is reaching out to reminders her of her North Philly childhood home, where murals dotted the brick walls of buildings across the city.

She found a passion for art through a program that took her to Philadelphia art museums as a kid. Her career started with simple sketches in high school, striving to be better and renting out any “How to Draw” or “Idiot’s Guide to…” books she found at the local library.

Several years ago, she moved to York to attend York College of Pennsylvania and, after graduating in May, was named the College’s Appell Arts Fellow – a distinction given to young artists to provide a gap year for developing and finding opportunities for their art.

The title comes with perks – the College provides an apartment and a studio at Marketview Arts on West Philadelphia Street for a year – but it’s about making an impact.

Lexus is using her platform to seek out the underrepresented artists. She hopes to get funding for an after-school program for children so they can develop their talents.

Lexus Gore found a passion for art through a program that took her to Philadelphia art museums as a kid. Several years ago, she moved to York to attend York College of Pennsylvania. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Inspiring talent

As Lexus develops the program and works on her own art projects, she’s helping Ophelia in hers.

Ophelia received a grant from the York County Community Foundation to create murals throughout the city. She’s finished a few and, with Lexus in tow, the duo is working on another mural at the corner of East Philadelphia and North Pine streets.

Public art attracts artists and inspires potential talent.

“I want to tell people there are beautiful things – even in this city – that can brighten how you look at the world,” Lexus says. “Enjoy the beauty that is out there.”

Lexus Gore is using her platform to seek out the underrepresented artists. She hopes to get funding for an after-school program for children so they can take develop their talents. (Photo by Caleb Robertson for Our York Media)

Story paid for by York College of Pennsylvania

ycp.edu
441 Country Club Rd York, PA 17403
717-846-7788

Get good news in your inbox: Subscribe and we’ll send you the latest features as well as behind-the-scenes looks of our stories and why each story we publish matters to us and the community.