Black galleries are the beating heart of our communities
Black galleries are the beating heart of our communities. Treasures like the eight-decade old South Side Community Art Center was a gallery when there were no galleries for Black artists. Housed in a Bauhaus residence on Michigan Avenue in Chicago the converted home was purchased in part with funds raised during the “Miles of Dimes” fundraiser in Bronzeville in the 40s and 50s.
No matter if they’re in a personal home, a converted home, a storefront, a strip mall, downtown, across the tracks, in a specially built edifice, or virtual, Black galleries are the stuff.
The best part of any trip was always visiting a Black gallery. You could spend hours in LaBelle Galerie, then in the French Quarters, because the inventory was so large. Stella Jones’ St. Charles Street location’s spare look and concrete floor are perfect for the oversized works they show in the main gallery. Houston’s Gite Gallery’s red walls and sweeping staircase are lovely. Azyha Fine Art Gallery in Milwaukee occupies a historic downtown landmark building.
The Harlem Gallery Stroll organized by Calabar Gallery’s Atim Oton tours an innovative collaboration of galleries, art spaces and businesses in Central West Harlem from 110th Street to 155th Street.
In Memphis Waterkolours has built a dream gallery and will be doing an open house this Spring. Jonathan Romaine and his wife converted a schoolhouse in his native Rockford into an arts center and gallery.
Chicago has got great gallery street cred from the SSCAC, to the OG’s Nicole Gallery and Samuel Akinyah, Black gallery pioneers in the trendy River North neighborhood; to Blanc, Gallery Guichard, Steele Life and now Anthony Gallery and AMFM’s art show exhibitions.
Band of Vices out of LA and Daisha Board in Dallas, are heating up the field now. No brick and mortar, no problem, many galleries are virtual, and project based like Medium Tings in Brooklyn, that defines itself as nomadic.
HBCU Art Galleries have shaped our vision of Black art, beginning with Alan Locke’s tenure at Howard University to new edifices like the Southern University Art Museum are drawing visitors from across the country.
Want to go global, Marianne Ibrahim eponymous galleries are holding it down in Chicago, Paris and Mexico; Also in Paris is our new gallery crush Galerie Carole Kvasnevski that we met in Marrakech, and we learned this week about HOA in São Paulo.
No matter when they were founded Black galleries connect us to Black artists and the chance to capture a moment in time and hang it on our walls.
All these galleries plus HBCU galleries and arts organizations will be in Pigment International’s first ever Black Gallery Guide. Follow us on IG and look for a website coming soon.
Learn more and read this week’s newsletter to learn more about the art reality show The Exhibit.
Pictured above is Stephanie Baptist director of the nomadic Medium Tings Gallery based in Brooklyn.