GAZELLE MAGAZINE Vol. 1, Issue 1 | Page 34

Gazelle 14 Spring 25-48_Gazelle Magazine 4/17/14 8:16 PM Page 32 MALL ORY NEZAM PG32 SPECIAL FEATURE Women Who Inspire Mallory Nezam PG1 2PG SPREAD Interconnection photo courtesy of Jarred Gastreich ART – IN ALL ITS FORMS – BRINGS PEOPLE & CITIES TOGETHER By ERIN WILLIAMS i f there is one thing that Mallory Nezam has never sought in doing her work, it’s permission. “I remember when I was a kid, and people in school would ask who inspires you, who’s your hero, who do you look up to - I really never had an answer for that,” she said of motivating and inspiring other people to do creative things. “This has been in my blood since I was a kid!” The twenty-seven-year-old is committed to bringing new and innovative ways of looking, doing, feeling, and even being art to St. Louis. In three years’ time, she has spearheaded the pop-up group STL Improv Anywhere, which gave birth to the No-Pants Bike Ride (“It’s not really art, but you could argue that it’s part of my social practice of challenging people in public space to do things differently,” she said.) She called on the entire city to send in poems in order to have them “harvested,” read in public as co-founder of “The Poetree Project,” and has been instrumental in bringing new energy to the streets of the city. “I feel potential in St. Louis in a way that I don’t feel it in a lot of other places,” she said of St. Louis being the sweet spot for her. “People are really invested in ‘place’ here. People want to build things together, and they actually want to build it because they love St. Louis. That’s really rare to find.” Born and raised in St. Louis, Mallory graduated from Occidental College in California and lived in Spain and New York City before returning to her hometown three years ago. Her modern-day focus of changing cities through art first took hold in 2008 while she was researching how art served as a catalyst for citizens of El Salvador to work through post-civil war trauma. photo courtesy of Pablo Tsukayama 32 GAZELLE STL SAVVY SOPHISTICATED SASSY