Lauren Dominguez’s “Drawing from the Barrick” is a social media project highlighting the Barrick Museum’s little-seen artworks. She’s inviting members of the public to create their own interpretations of the pieces she’s selected. The museum undergraduate researcher and artist encourages people to draw each week’s selected work, then post your drawing on the museum’s Instagram with the hashtags #drawingfromthebarrick and #collectioncontemplation.

Lauren Dominguez

How did this project come about? 

I was thinking about the pieces and collections in the museum’s storage I didn’t know we had until I started interning. I was starting at the Barrick as a fine arts student, yet I didn’t know about them until I started doing a deep dive. I knew there were many people who didn’t (know about these pieces). 

I have also always loved to draw when I go into museums. I always go by myself because my family aren’t art people, so I just take my sketchbook and go around the galleries, and I sketch all day.

Did art ever feel inaccessible to you in your childhood?

Definitely. I’m 25 now, and my family were never the ones to go seek (art) out. And, the Barrick is the only art museum in Las Vegas. The first time I went to the Barrick I was a UNLV student. The first time I went into the art museum at all was when I was an adult.

Did you ever feel the concept of art—not just art in physical space like galleries—was inaccessible? Were you ever afraid of it?

I’m still scared of it sometimes. I always say I’m the most non-creative, creative person. That’s the thing with art: you’re either an artist or you’re not; it’s either a hobby or your career, and you have to be amazing at it. Having this middle ground, like I’m trying to create, I think will help people be less intimidated by it. 

I’m even trying to get my friends and family to support me in this. My mom was like, “I don’t draw,” and I reminded her of her doodles on my cast when I was a little kid. I loved it. Everyone is artsy in some way.

Aside from these pieces being little seen, what other factors went into choosing the pieces you’re highlighting? 

There were three priorities when I was looking at the art. Number one: I wanted pieces that haven’t been shown in at least three years. … I also wanted to showcase a variety of different media. I wanted painting and sculpture but also art that is less traditional like multimedia and costume. And three, I wanted to feature underrepresented artists. I feel that in lots of collections, you have that white male voice, and I wanted to feature other voices. 

Is this project a part of a bigger trend of museums trying to be just more accessible to people? 

I can’t speak on the bigger trend, but I know personally, this was just a passion project of mine: wanting to get the art out there. Accessibility is in the heart of it, and I didn’t think of it as some trend. I just thought it needed to happen, and I wanted to do something with my time at UNLV.

What kind of dialogue are you hoping to spark within the all online community you’re creating with hashtags such as #collectioncontemplation and #drawingfromthebarrick?

I just really wanted to nurture the social aspect of it. So far, with the first piece we’ve done, people have interpreted it very differently and they’ve done vastly different things with it. I hope people are able to come together and follow these hashtags and possibly reach out to each other. 

It’s amazing to me how you can take one prompt, whether it’s visual or words or anything—like Drawing a Day during the pandemic—and go to so many different places with it. I’m hoping to bring people together because we’re still in a pandemic and still a little bit isolated, years later. I’m trying to help nurture that. 

Are you hoping people find artists through Drawing from the Barrick? 

When I was doing my research, going through the collection, there were artists I had never heard about. I started doing a deep dive and was like, “Oh, my God, I love their work,” so it was really important to me to get that information out there. On Facebook and Instagram posts every week, we’re going to link the artist’s archive, their website, the artist, and the particular artwork we’re sharing. You can go and actually have an easier time finding more work and find something that speaks to you.

Is there an art piece or an artist you’re most excited to share? 

I won’t say the name of it, but it is the last one that’s going to be shared. It’s the reason why I started this whole thing. It got the gears turning in the very beginning. 

I did a research project in another class about this specific piece and had no clues this was in Vegas. I found out we had this, I can look at it, and I was joking around like, “Hey, when can I bring it down and look at it?” I was told I could if I could find a way to use it. And I found a way to use it.

The Marjorie Barrick Museum will share a piece of artwork selected by Lauren Dominguez for the “Drawing from the Barrick” project on Instagram and Facebook every Monday through May 9. To participate, post your drawing and use the hashtags #drawingfromthebarrick and #collectioncontemplation. Selected pieces will be shared and discussed.

Headshot photo: Courtesy of Lauren Dominguez

Cover photo: “Woman on Sofa,” a silkscreen print by Phyllis Sloane from 1980, is the first artwork that members of the public are invited to draw, post, and tag as part of the “Drawing from the Barrick” project. Image courtesy of the Barrick Museum.

Posted by Crystal Lugo

Crystal Lugo studied journalism and English writing at the University of Nevada, Reno. She enjoys writing nonfiction and poetry and dabbles in film photography. When she isn’t brainstorming or photographing, you can find her journaling or daydreaming about travel. She lives in Las Vegas with her kitten, Oliver.