Black-owned contemporary art gallery has opened in downtown

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The Faith J. McKinnie Gallery is a new, black-run contemporary art gallery in the city center at 1610 R Street in Rice Alley behind Device Brewing Co.

Its inauguration took place on August 14 and the gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The mall is curated by Faith J. McKinnie, who told The Sacramento Bee that the space is only temporary until early 2022. The building is expected to be demolished to create more space for the apartments. McKinnie says she still continues to look for a space to showcase art by local artists.

At the moment, she occupies the space and encourages others to visit her gallery which consists of different projects by local artists available for purchase — at affordable prices.

McKinnie is the executive director of the Foundry of black artists, an organization that helps provide funds for local artists and art programs and create opportunities for black artists who are marginalized or under-represented.

Its mission has always been to find ways to showcase their projects in art galleries and spaces where they can be seen and admired – potentially purchased – by those who find interest. Its ultimate goal is to establish its own permanent location to do so.

McKinnie spoke with The Sacramento Bee about the possibility of giving a platform to black artists and how she is doing it with her current space, temporarily.

Note: The following interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Q: You knew that by entering it, the space would be temporary. What about this place?

A: Definitely the mood when you walk in. There are the candles, the music, the wine, and then the art, of course.

Eight artists were asked to participate in this collective exhibition. Everywhere you look in this gallery there will be phenomenal Sacramento-based artists of color. They live here, work here and sell their art.

Q: For many of these artists, this is their first time exhibiting their art in a gallery. How important is it to you to provide them with this space?

A: A few months ago, I was crying for space. I know what I wanted, I wanted a commercial art gallery, I wanted a space to celebrate. So many artists that I personally collect and that I love and with whom I work. So having that space was so important to me. It’s a space to come in and see, see the work of these phenomenal artists, underrepresented artists. The gallery will always champion and amplify the work of black artists, artists of color and queer artists.

It’s definitely a space where I want people to bring their families, bring their dogs, you know there’s a lot of conversation going on here. And I believe it comes down to art again, and my ultimate goal is to continue to provide that space.

Our city is so rich and diverse and I think we need more artistic spaces. We definitely lack art spaces so I wanted to contribute to a city that has given me so much. I wanted to make sure I could give back so much to Sacramento.

Q: You have only had this place for 6 months, what are you trying to accomplish during that time?

A: Traditionally, galleries aren’t spaces that people necessarily feel comfortable in, sometimes unwelcoming spaces, especially if you’re not spending the money. So that’s the first thing, I want people to come right here. For the time that we are here, each month we will present a new artist, whether solo or in a group. There will always be the opportunity to come in and be introduced to artists you’ve probably never heard of, and see the work of someone who works intensely in their practice, in our city.

Q: What makes Sacramento so special, as an arts and culture scene?

A: I was born and raised in Sacramento, so it’s a very special place for me. We have so many artists, especially black artists, creating phenomenal work in the city, and we don’t normally see them. We don’t see them in museums, we don’t see them in galleries. We don’t even see their studios as many of them work from home. So create space and give them a place to share, for me as curator, space is my medium, that’s how I do the work I do.

This story was originally published September 8, 2021 5:00 a.m.

Marcus D. Smith covers black communities for The Sacramento Bee. Marcus is an alumnus of Texas Southern University in Houston. Marcus grew up in Sacramento and is delighted to be back home following his passion for journalism.

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