2020 40 Under 40 Honoree: Julie Mallis
“Art for the sake of art isn’t interesting or important to me. Art that brings people together is.”
At Carnegie Mellon, Julie Mallis enrolled in the university’s BXA program, which allows students the freedom to fuse multiple majors and fields of inquiry. Mallis’ choice of art and anthropology earned them a lot of questions, namely: “What does art have to do with anthropology?” and “What are you going to do with an art degree?”
Turns out, a lot. Since graduating, Mallis has used their social justice work to inspire their art and their art to inspire their social justice work. “Art for the sake of art isn’t interesting or important to me,” Mallis says. “Art that brings people together is.”
Their work at BOOM Concepts, an art hub and workspace that amplifies marginalized voices, helped to lay the foundation for the work they do now as executive director of Repair the World Pittsburgh. The service organization focuses on mobilizing the Jewish community to combat injustice and oppression, taking an intersectional approach not unlike the one they learned as an undergrad at CMU.
“It’s easy for minority communities to silo themselves off due to historical trauma,” Mallis says. “We try to build solidarity across those differences.”