In honor of Black History Month and in recognition of the amazing contributions of Black artists throughout history, we put together our top 5 Black owned and operated art businesses near and far, past and present.
#1 The African Grove Theatre
James Hewlett as Richard III
A theatre company founded in 1821 in New York City by a free black actor and playwright William Alexander Brown, 6 years before the abolition of slavery in New York. We applaud the dedication and perseverance of Black artists pioneering creative industries, even in the most difficult of circumstances.
#2 Harlem Artist Guild
Romare Bearden "Sunday after Sermon"
Founded in 1935 by one of our favorite Black sculptors Augusta Savage (among others) the Harlem Artist Guild was such a powerful organization for increasing the voices and place of Black artists especially in the Federal Works Progress Administration’s Programs. We love how their mission centered around education and building community for those who were left out of the mainstream visual arts realm.
#3 Black Arts Council
Betye Saar "the Phrenologer's Widow II"
Working in a politically and emotionally charged time in American History of the 1960’s, the Black Arts Council really brought Black artists into the space of art and art administration in Los Angeles when no one else was. Their commitment for their short lifespan to art, artists and art education really makes us proud to include them in our list.
#4 Black Lunch Table
Since 2005, Black Lunch Table has been collecting and amplifying the global stories of those who are an integral part of our cultural human heritage but often left out of the archives. They are steadily growing the digital and in-person collection of real stories of artists, giving them a seat at the table. Check them out and donate to their fabulous work @blacklunchtable and www.blacklunchtable.com
#5 Black Women of Print
Stephanie Santana "Mama Wanda"
In history books, printmaking as a genre has been portrayed primarily from a Euro-Asian-centric perspective. From Gutenberg in the 15th Century, to the Dutch master Rembrandt in the 17th Century and Hokusai is the 18th -19th Century- AND, male-centric. Our contemporary organization on the list is the Black Women of Print because of their mission to provide a safe, digital homeplace for Black women printmakers. We love organizations who go against the grain, stay to true to their own stories and build awareness around fine art, artists and art education. Check them out @blackwomenofprint and www.blackwomenofprint.com