- Written By 10Melanin Team
10 Black-Owned Art Galleries In Brooklyn NY
When it comes to creativity in Brooklyn, your mind probably goes straight to the music industry. Brooklyn is home to some of the most well-known Black musicians, such as Biggie Smalls, Jay-Z, Lil Kim, and Mos Def, to name a few. These artists are responsible for placing Brooklyn on the map, but some may not be aware that the borough also has a thriving art scene. One of the most famous visual Black artist of the 20th century Jean-Michel Basquiat was indeed a Brooklyn native. Other accomplished visual artists born in Brooklyn include Jamel Shabazz, Danny Simmons, Michael Anthony Pegues, and in more recent years artists such as Kehinde Wiley and Caitlin Cherry have chosen Brooklyn for their home. With over a third of the population being African-American, it's no surprise that Brooklyn has developed into a creative hub that has allowed some of the city's Black-owned art galleries to thrive.
sk.ArtSpace began with the intention of creating a safe space for creatives and artists of colour, both digitally and physically. Symone, Jarryn, and Melissa, the founders, draw on their backgrounds in the arts, research, and project management to make sure the gallery realises its full potential. sk.ArtSpace also functions as an art incubator, with the primary goal of assisting new artists in expanding their networks and providing a venue for them to exhibit their work and be recognised by the community.
9. The Bishop Gallery
The Bishop is a contemporary art gallery, based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, where owners Erwin John and Stevenson Dunn were born and raised. The gallery, which opened in 2012, strives to create an intimate venue for both new and established artists to connect with their audience and the burgeoning Brooklyn art scene. The ethos of the gallery is that art can be a catalyst for bringing together communities and inciting conversations of change and development. The owners want their space to inspire both visitor's and artist's ideas, that bring about change.
8. Brooklyn Arts Fellowship
BAF Gallery (Brooklyn Arts Fellowship) is a for-profit art venue located in Brooklyn's Greenwood neighbourhood and founded in 2016. The gallery was founded by Aaron Simms with the aim of creating a local space for emerging and established artists. BAF is dedicated to a variety of creative genres, including painting, drawing, sculpture, music, design, and video/audio elements. Alongside art exhibitions, you will find a store, artist talks, open mic nights and various other events
The idea for MoCADA (The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts) grew from Laurie Angela Cumbo's graduate thesis at New York University, which focused on the feasibility of an African diaspora museum contributing to the economic, social, political, and aesthetic revitalisation of central Brooklyn. In 1999 the thesis came to life, and the gallery was located in a brownstone owned by the Bridge Street AWME Church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighbourhood of Brooklyn, New York. MoCADA explores new artistic expression across a variety of disciplines including the visual and performing arts. MoCADA expresses the urgent social and political challenges facing Africa through exhibitions, community programmes, and educational projects focusing on social justice.
6. Jenkins Johnson
Jenkins Johnson Gallery, established in 1996, is a contemporary art gallery that represents worldwide artists working in a variety of media. Along side the gallery is Jenkins Johnson Projects, a hub for critically recognised, young curators and artists of colour. The gallery is also dedicated to furthering the careers of their artists by collaborating with museums, private institutions, art collectors, and other dealers.
5. Medium Tings
Medium Tings is a gallery and project space in a Brooklyn brownstone dedicated to art and discourse, with a focus on black artists. Stephanie Baptist founded MT, which is dedicated to exhibits, public art, collaborations, and their community space in the shape of a retail shop. Aimed to stimulate experimentation, sustainability, and cultural development of limited items, art objects, and other limited commodities.
4. Richard Beavers Gallery
Richard Beavers Gallery is a Brooklyn-based contemporary art gallery dedicated to emerging and mid-career artists who explore and address social and political concerns that affect the Black community. They place a strong emphasis on work and media that articulates urban visual culture and promotes access, knowledge, and pride for African-Americans. When Richard Beavers launched his fine art gallery in Bed-Stuy in 2007, several questioned the location and suggested Soho or Chelsea instead. Beavers, on the other hand, recognised early on the importance for Black people to have spaces within our community where we can see artwork that tells our stories.
Stephan Payne, the founder of Ghost gallery, comes from a family of artists, with a mother who is an artist and a father who is a painter. He's always wanted his own art studio so he could work with young and developing artists and help them realise their visions. The gallery is BIPOC-focused and hosts curated exhibitions by local artists with a focus on liminality. It takes pride in being able to provide a platform for new artists and their ideas.
Ivy N. Jones founded the Welancora Gallery almost 20 years ago with the purpose of representing international Black artists by selling their work to collectors and museums, hosting important exhibitions, and producing monographs. Inspired by her ancestry, she named the gallery after her father, older brother and mother. From a young age Jones always knew that she wanted to own her own space and she achieved this in 2002. After attending a photography workshop with Roy DeCarava in her early thirties, she decided to turn the space into a gallery. After 5 years of success, they sought after a much needed bigger space which is currently where they are located, in a larger townhouse Bed-Stuy.
1. Dorsey’s Art Gallery
Black Art America
Dorsey's art gallery is an art institution, it has been serving New York's art community since 1970. It was in the late 60's, that Lawrence Peter Dorsey met the previous owner who was using the space as a framing shop. Dorsey became fascinated with framing and and after building a relationship with the owner, she taught him the trade. Dorsey was dedicated about turning those who were interested in art into avid collectors by educating, supporting, and developing them. The gallery became well-known for its great art displays, which drew crowds of people who came for the art, the company, the music, and the cuisine.