If you missed it, you missed out. “Parallel Kin” was featured at Gallery 90220 from April through June of 2022, and the edgy photographic exhibit blended the cultures of Los Angeles and New Orleans to create a vision of similar souls in vastly different environments.
It’s hardly unusual for Compton-inspired Gallery 90220, located in a converted Goodyear Tire warehouse in an industrial stretch of Historic South-Central Los Angeles. The gallery specializes in showcasing up and coming Black artists and is quickly becoming a hotspot for multicultural and minority artists.
The gallery was launched by executive director David Colbert, Jr., who is passionate about art and the Black experience.
A Space for Black Artists to Network
“Exhibits like ‘Parallel Kin’ are all about Black expression,” says Colbert. The photographic display was curated by Tyie Dominique and McKayla Chandler and featured the art of Delaney George of Laneslense LLC, NOLA, and Tiffany “Just Rock” Brown from Los Angeles.
Exhibits like this are the essence of Gallery 90220. Colbert is dedicated to connecting artists from around the world and bringing them together. The gallery is a passion project, a pivotal art institution for the legendary city of Compton, and a hub of creativity for emerging artists. The gallery is now attracting more established and notable artists as well as celebrity visitors; however, the primary purpose of its conception was creating a platform for emerging artists.
Love of art and a heart for the young unrecognized artist is what led Colbert to create Compton’s first art walk, a monthly festival that unites local artists and businesses to collaborate, network and showcase their talents and hard work while driving economic support to Compton. While the festival has been on hold for the past year, it’s expected to start up again soon.
Bringing Black Culture into the Business of Art
Financial struggles keep many Black artists down. One goal of Gallery 90220 is to provide a way for new/young artists of color to expand their contacts.
“Networking is everything,” says Colbert. “We want our artists to find mentors that will help young artists organize their vision. They need to trust themselves and a wise counselor can help keep them in their lane.”
The drive to offer networking options to emerging artists inspired Colbert’s creation of the Art Walk. Colbert realizes that many artists dream of supporting themselves through their creativity, and he wants his team to be part of that experience. Events like the Compton Art Walk and exhibits at Gallery 90220 allow artists to showcase their talents and meet the people who will change their lives.
This applies to funding the gallery and festival as well as the featured exhibits.
“Funding local art gives patrons something to be proud of,” says Colbert. “This year we plan to raise six figures to hire more staff and provide free art programming for the Los Angeles community.”
Why free, one might wonder? Art is definitely a business, and it takes sponsors to keep the lights on at the gallery. But Colbert believes art should be accessible to all and seeks to offer multiple platforms for artists.
Creating A Space for Connections
Colbert’s gallery is the premier art gallery in the area, attracting talented young artists and discerning patrons who truly love culture.
“My goal,” he reveals, “ is to connect brands to collaborate with our artists.”
“We’re curating events,” Colbert says, “designed to connect the art scene of color to brands that will sponsor them and further their careers.”
He dreams of connecting young artists of color to the entertainment industry – introducing them to big names that will get them into set design, costumes, makeup, and more.
About David Colbert Jr.
David Colbert Jr. is a third-generation Compton native and studied sociology at California State University. As one of the top emerging curators in L.A., he is a devoted advocate for the arts, keen on fostering culture in his community.
“I’ve always loved art,” he reveals, “and I’ve always loved working with people. Now I can bring both of those together.”
Colbert is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Compton Art Walk Inc. and the creator of the city’s first art walk in 2018. Since then, Colbert has been recognized as a leading creative mind in Compton, and his proudest moment was founding and opening Gallery 90220.
The contemporary art gallery, designed by the prestigious Gensler architecture firm, opened its doors in 2021, featuring pieces from internationally acclaimed artist Gianni Lee and an exclusive photography exhibition from the Oscar award-winning film Two Distant Strangers (both events curated by Colbert).
Colbert has been interviewed by Harvard University to document his impact on the art scene in Compton, and his gallery was featured in the Los Angeles Times for providing a unique space for Black creatives to collaborate. The gallery received a New York Times mention and is recognized as a Black-owned business as part of Forbes Green Book Guide.
Colbert is also the Executive Producer of the Red Dot Series podcast, which features top young creatives from around the country. The podcast has enjoyed many notable guests and has been featured on Vh1’s hit television series Black Ink.
Colbert’s most recent venture has been founding the Red Dot MRKT, a community outdoor flea market located in South Central LA. The market features art (of course), food trucks and other vendors, and live music.
The Future of Promoting Black Artistic Expression
Colbert is working on a line of art supplies that are inspired by and created specifically for the Black experience. “There’s currently no diversity in art supply,” he says. He’s also creating a website designed for artists of color to build a community, sell their art, and share ideas.
Gallery 90220 is well on its way to becoming the premier space for artists of collect to connect. Colbert plans to curate larger artistic events that bring in Black artists and sponsors and brands to connect with them.
“I’m excited about launching my line of art supplies that cater specifically to people of color,” he reiterates. “The new website will allow emerging artists of color to sell their art and get their careers kickstarted. Art is moving into the digital space, bringing opportunities we’ve never seen before.”
Colbert has seen young artists grow discouraged and wants to offer ways to help build their careers and dreams.
“Success is never giving up,” he affirms. “Success is progress. Success is a mindset. Achieving your ultimate goal doesn’t happen by accident.”
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