“A work of art is a world in itself reflecting senses and emotions of the artist’s world.” ~ Hans Hoffman
Taja Seafus is a local artistic pioneer. She has embarked on endeavors in the art community that have propelled her as a young adult into a spotlight she never dreamed of. She is the leader of the DOSE Artist Collective. Their mission is to provide opportunities for artists to experiment, collaborate and share their work with the community – in the form of affordable housing, studio and gallery space.
Taja sat with us at Forsyth Family to discuss her origin story and how she became a formidable artistic leader here in the community.
What is the origin of your artistic interests and pursuits?
In high school, I dove right into the theater. I really did not want to act, but rather, was much more interested in the technical side of productions. I enrolled at UNC School of the Arts (I graduated from there in 2019), and during my time there, I trained as a set designer. I liked set design, but I wanted to take things to a different level that included art curation and space design. I still loved design but found that the production side of things for the theater was too systematic. I had to stay within certain boundaries. I wanted to do something more, something extra.
Talk about your education, your training and when things got serious and took shape for you.
My exposure and education in high school theater and at UNCSA taught me so much about how to be a dedicated production and set designer. I learned how to shift production materials and sets quickly. I became good at being nimble and to question and analyze space. My four years at UNCSA ultimately led me to a performance where the audience experienced the set in an immersive participation. The audience was able to see up close the intricacies of the set with the actors in place but not speaking prior to the start of the performance. I then went on to assist in the production of shows here and in Raleigh on occasion.
Why should the world care about creativity, and who were some of your inspirations?
Creativity is a universal trait for anyone and everyone. I can honestly say that everyone is creative in some shape or form. There is such freedom to creative expression when people realize how uniquely “artistic” everyone is. In my recent curations, I have seen a wide range of creative outlets being shared through our Arts Council “The Lab” which happens on the first Monday of every month. I encourage people to understand that whether or not something is deemed as artistically “good” is up to the beholder, the one who sees that art.
As far as inspirations of mine? My mother is my hero. She is fearless. She always made everything happen for me. She has always believed in me whether it was my competitive cheerleading or my artistic pursuits. She is even getting into art now! Other members of my family are also inspired by art, including my uncle who draws and my grandmother who quilts and makes wreaths.
Tell us about the DOSE Artist Collective.
We are a non-profit, 501(c)(3), organization based in Winston-Salem. Our mission is to provide opportunities for artists to experiment, collaborate and share their work with the community – in the form of affordable housing, studio and gallery space. Our vision is to support creative endeavors in the community. The DOSE Collective is to provide gallery, exhibition and creative spaces for the never ending cycle of meeting new people and connecting with the community and to provide affordable housing for artists in the Winston-Salem area.
The first Monday of every month from 7:30-10:30pm, we host a lab in our space under the Sawtooth Gallery downtown to showcase poetry, monologues, music, dance and much more. We ask that patrons just pay what they can when coming to the lab. We want this to be a fully accessible and enjoyable event for everyone.
Where should our community direct its collective attention in order to promote more artistic endeavors?
We need to feel that the community-at-large is open to letting new things happen. I hope to see that there is more acceptance of shifting the old things out and welcoming new and innovative approaches to art. There needs to be room for risk and the acceptance of new ways of including everyone at the artistic “table.” To create, one needs to be ready for change.
What inspires and excites you about your work?
The interaction I have with people is the best part of my daily work. The feedback I get from our patrons at every event is what excites me. People find ways to offer such positive feedback during every event we host and curate. They always comment on what a fresh approach we take and how the artistic scene has not felt like this in a long time. I still also get thrilled by helping to determine the best use of space and how it can fill a room artistically.
Who would you nominate for our next People of Prominence interview?
Regina Burcham who owns and operates Elderflour Baking Company here in Winston-Salem. Regina is a pinnacle and game changer when it comes to handmade baked goods in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. She puts her heart and soul into every item she bakes, and you can taste it. She inspires me and every brown girl on the planet!
DOSE Artist Collective