Community members are hoping to open a Black-run art gallery which focuses on multicultural artwork by the end of the year.
According to the gallery’s GoFundMe, Mulberry Art Gallery is a “non-profit immersive art gallery in Wichita, Kansas…where guests will learn to engage with art through audiovisual and tactile stimulation.”
Owner Anthony Joiner says the goal of the gallery is to give local artists of color a more consistent space to show their work.
“When we go into different galleries, you see a lot of artwork there, but not a lot of it is cultured artwork…and a lot of artists get excluded because of that, especially artists of color,” Joiner said. “So the goal of this gallery is to give our artists [an opportunity]…to create something bigger than art-on-canvas and canvas-on wall. It’s to help the work expand beyond the canvas.”
The gallery will feature all forms of art, including, but not limited to, poetry, dance, paintings, video and sculptures.
“I love the galleries we have [in Wichita], but I feel like a lot of the time…they’re kind of trying to cater to a specific audience where they hang up artwork that can’t be offensive, there’s not a whole lot of color, it’s not cultural…. What we’re aiming to do is actually put people in a position where they can actually feel the artist….That’s gonna come in several different ways,” Joiner said.
Joiner is planning on hosting themed art shows at Mulberry Art Gallery, where artists submit work that follows a certain theme.
“We are gonna have themed art shows where we come up with a particular thing like hair,” Joiner said. “Hair is actually a really big thing around the United States, actually around the world, right now. People of color are finally being able to have their own natural hair in a way that comes naturally from their head..women are finally coming to terms that they can shave their heads and still be women.”
He says that the purpose of the gallery is for it to be an immersive space where people can engage with the artist’s thoughts.
“[We want it] so that people can walk in and actually engage in that thought,” Joiner said. “Some people [will] disagree with some of it; it’s perfectly fine. What art is there for is to open that conversation.”
The gallery will also feature a solo exhibition room where there will be a small roster of “more established artists” that will get that solo space for a certain period of time in which they have full artistic freedom to create whatever they want.
“If they want to paint the wall, if they want to make a sculpture that sticks out from the walls— whatever they want to do,” Joiner said. “When you walk into that room, you are submerged by that artist’s world.”
Joiner works closely with local artists and on local art shows, including the shows hosted by the Art That Touches your Heart foundation during the month of February that takes place on Wichita…
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