Six Degrees Consortium is dedicated to the idea that visual art can be a powerful means of education and cross-cultural understanding among people. Its mission is to enable the creation and dissemination of works of art that are socially relevant, timely, build bridges across cultures and address the issues faced by humans in an ever-shrinking world.
Six Degrees Consortium was founded by artist Lori K. Gordon, MA, BS, in 2001. The organization was a loosely held group of supporters of Gordon’s work. At the time, the artist was focusing on The Labat Project, which examines Creole culture at the turn of the century. In 2005, the worst natural disaster to befall the United States arrived in the form of Hurricane Katrina. Like so many others, Gordon lost her home and studio in Katrina. Just days after the storm, she launched The Katrina Collection. This series of mixed media assemblages incorporating storm debris tells the story of the people who experienced the loss of their homes and communities and explores the rebuilding of shattered lives.
In 2009, Gordon began traveling to locations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean. The ongoing Six Degrees: West to East body of work resulted from these travels. It was during this time period that Six Degrees Consortium received its name, and the process of formalizing the organization began. In 2013, Six Degrees Consortium was registered as a Mississippi corporation and in 2014, 501(c)3 status was granted by the Internal Revenue Service.
During the summer of 2015, SDC hosted "Building Bridges", a juried exhibition that was opened to residents of the six coastal counties in Mississippi and members of Del Ray Artisans of Alexandria, VA. Building bridges between cultures is increasingly important in our ever-shrinking but tumultuous world. Empathy and understanding can bridge a path across cultural barriers, broadening our worldview and encouraging compassion. This exhibit invited viewers to explore each artist's interpretation of the theme – whether building bridges that connect cultures and countries, nature and human nature, religious views, or the vastness of individual experience.
In conjunction with this exhibit, two special events were held – an artist's talk on June 4 and a workshop on June 27. Many people attended the artist's talk with Lori K. Gordon for her talk, "Bridging Worlds," a special opportunity to hear about her personal journey as an artist in the ten years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The past decade was filled with exhibitions, artist's talks and workshops across the U.S. Her journey also expanded to Haiti, throughout Europe, and to the Middle East and North Africa, where she recently opened an art café in the fabled city of Marrakech, Morocco.
Gordon also conducted a workshop, "Building Altars," on Saturday, June 27, from 9:30 am to 5 pm. The traditional role of altars is to remind oneself of sacred ground. Altars can be created around traditional religious themes, or they can focus on very personal ideas of the sacred. Participants created small altars from tins or boxes.
Also during the summer of 2015, SDC hosted "Journeys", a three-state exhibition of work by three artists who lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina a decade ago. The exhibition examined the individual paths to recovery taken by the artists, as seen in the light of community response and volunteer involvement.