How does it feel to be the only Black woman from DC to own a commercial gallery right now?
I want to cry, instantly. When I go to the gallery I always think of my younger self. I knew I was special. I didn’t know entirely in what ways, but I’ve always had a special life. When I was in fifth grade I was in a poetry program and they called and said they were going to publish it on the metro. I was in the Washington Post twice, I was on the Today Show. I got to read it at the Library of Congress. So there were always special adventures in my lifetime but I did not know I was going to be an art dealer.
I had the insight to move back to DC. I didn’t know why—I loved living in New York at the time. I thought I was going to live there for a longer time. I did seven or eight years and when I moved back, I saw why I had to come back. You’re not always given the information about where you are going, you just have to trust it and I am someone who trusts my intuition without delay.
Why did you come back?
I feel like the ancestors wanted someone from DC to have an art gallery here and to support artists in the way that only someone from DC could—to take care of my city with a level of consideration. I know how people from DC are perceived and that’s why I am able to connect. It doesn’t feel like I am an outsider coming in. Even though I am from the New York art world, I am not trying to change things. I want to augment them.
Tell me about the gallery green movement.
All of our branding was blue and electric pink and it didn’t give me calm and that’s what I wanted. So, I was thinking about colors that made me feel calm and sage green is one of those colors… From that sage, I decided gallery green could be any hue and we just started branding with a lot of green. People showed up to the opening in their green. Two weekends ago at the Black Women in Art Spaces event, all of them had on their gallery green and they looked wonderful. People will come to meetings and they might have on green nail polish and they’ll stop and say, “I have my gallery green.”
I love that, and I’m definitely wearing a green bracelet! When you’re deciding which artists you want to work with, what is your process?
I have to feel something and I’m not always able to name it. I’ve decided that I don’t always have to. I want to stress that there are a lot of talented artists out there that I don’t feel anything for. It doesn’t mean their work is not good; it just means that it’s for someone else. The work I show moves me. It makes me feel a sense of freedom. It makes me pensive. It makes me want to be a better person. That’s the first thing I notice. Next, I want to meet the artist and see how we relate. If I can choose who I get to work with, I am going to choose people who are kind. It’s always going to be talent at the highest level: the best painters, the best sculptors, and the best conceptual artists. And kindness.