The 1st Annual Grand Blvd. Art Stroll

On SATURDAY, JULY 23, 2022, three Grand Boulevard art establishments – CHROMA, Irwin House Gallery, and Blackbird Gallery – are joining forces to present the First Annual Grand Blvd. Art Stroll on Saturday, July 23, 2022 from 12 noon – 10:00 pm.

The event invites guests to CHROMA between the hours of 12:30 – 6pm, Blackbird Gallery also from noon up until 9pm, and Irwin House Gallery will host a closing reception and celebration from 6pm – 10 pm. Organized by CHROMA’s Stephanie León, Irwin’s House Director Misha McGlown, and Donna Jackson (DMJStudio), curator of the YOU BELONG exhibit currently on view at CHROMA, The Grand Blvd. Art Stroll draws attention to these creative new spaces, but also sets the stage for a bigger annual event that hopes to encompass all businesses and cultural spaces along the historic Boulevard, from east to west.

12:30 – 6:00 pm CHROMA
2937 E. Grand Blvd.

12:00 – 9:00 pm Blackbird Gallery
3011 W. Grand Blvd. (Fisher Building)

6:00 – 10:00 pm Irwin House Gallery
2351 W. Grand Blvd. (btwn. Linwood & LaSalle)

Featuring original exposed brick and floor-to-ceiling windows, the restored CHROMA building melds the rich cultural history of Milwaukee Junction and North End with modern touches for an ultimate aesthetic experience. During The Stroll, CHROMA marks the close of its inaugural exhibition, YOU BELONG, featuring 40 local artists on its main floor. The venue will host an all-day cocktail reception celebrating the exhibit and extending onto the outdoor patio space.

Presently located in the Fisher Building, Blackbird Gallery joins Detroit’s art community in honor of the city’s creative and historic legacy. The gallery presents original art for purchase, providing the opportunity to acquire works by emerging and established artists. During The Stroll, she welcomes guests to enjoy the work of thirteen artists hailing from within and beyond our local and national borders.

Irwin House Gallery will have a diverse selection of art on exhibit from its collection alongside original works from 20+ Detroit and East Coast artists. Now in its second whirlwind year, the home-front gallery will conclude The Stroll with a festive indoor/outdoor reception inspired by the art and including music, live painting, and refreshments purveyed by local vendors.

Overall, the works of more than seventy-five visual artists will be displayed as part of the First Annual Grand Blvd. Art Stroll. The event recognizes its neighbors along the route, including Submerge Records, Baobab Fare restaurant, Motown Museum, and DABLS African Bead Museum, to name a few. This is just the first installment of something bigger to come next year!!!

– View the Eventbrite invitation HERE.
– View the Facebook invitation HERE.

Urban Organic’s Detroit Diaspora Day Party

On the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend (arguably the biggest music weekend in Detroit), the Detroit Diaspora: Day Party is King event will occur at the Irwin House Gallery, on West Grand Boulevard (inarguably the city’s most musical avenue). It will highlight a line-up of exquisite music selectors and will feature electronic music that fits the mode of dance music most popular in the city during this holiday weekend, and much more. The traversing sounds, including Techno, House, Afro Beat, Hip Hop, Soul, Bossa Nova, Hip Hop, Amapiano, and more, will take music lovers on a global journey.

The event will pay tribute to two Detroit cultural pioneers—Zana Smith of Spectacles Boutique, and internationally renowned musician – Amp Fiddler. Boxed sit-down dinners will be prepared by popular Chef Nik R. Cole of Fried Chicken & Caviar.

The afternoon will also include face painting by Ifoma Stubbs and Tre Marcel and feature the sale of works and wares offered by Detroit local vendors and artisans. Inside the gallery, Urban Organic presents the original work of artists Onzie Norman and Yolanda Nichelle alongside Irwin House Gallery’s current exhibit, RE-FRAME, featuring the work of Quadre Curry.

Event co-organizer, Drake Phifer says, “It’s great to be able to produce this event in order to shine light on the life works of some two individuals who literally represent in many people’s eyes, the soul of Detroit. We are also very happy to have this event because it allows us to to bring attention to yet another arts and cultural space in the city that is already having a positive, reverberating impact. This place represents the culture. The culture of the city.”

Featured DJs include Marilyn Griffin, Drake Phifer, DJ Righteous, Vernon English, Duane Powell of Chicago, and Detroit-based house music chanteuse, Divinti. The event takes place on Sunday, May 29, 2022 from 12noon – 10 pm at The Irwin House located at 2531 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, MI 48208. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Miracles Foundation, a non-profit that raises funds for educational, performing art and humanitarian scholarships and grants. Tickets may be purchased online at urban-organic.net or on eventbrite.com. For questions or to inquire about vending call 313-986-2975.

RE-FRAMED: Quadre Curry Solo Exhibition

SATURDAY, MAY 21, 2022 | DETROIT – Irwin House Gallery is proud to introduce the art of local emerging artist, Quadre Curry, in a solo exhibition opening on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at 6:00 pm. RE-FRAMED, the exhibition’s title, speaks to the unconventional structure of much of Curry’s work and promises a creative and hopeful reconstruction of the past and future. The exhibition features 25 new works combining figurative, fine art painting with sculptural processes and highlighting the artist’s exploration of mixed materials.

As a twenty-four-year-old Black bisexual man entering the depths of adulthood, Quadre Curry uses his art to express his unique perceptions of the world. “When I look out, I see such stark contrasts: There is a significant awakening in the human psyche while politics remain stagnant and, in some places, move backwards; Extreme luxury and comfort alongside growing poverty and wealth gaps; A revolution in the understanding of gender and sexuality while LGBTQ members rank highest in suicide rates. We live in the age where anything we want to know is at our fingertips, yet we suffer more than any generation when it comes to the spread and validation of misinformation.”  These are perspectives that drive Curry’s creative process and have allowed him to conceive the underlying theme for this exhibition, which dares to step outside the lines of convention and imagine our joint hopes for the future.

Common design elements can be found throughout the work. Smaller paintings – which the artist considers “studies” – focus heavily on the elements themselves, while some of the larger paintings offer scenes that pull the viewer into deeper personal and historical narratives. Each work is anchored by realism and bound by conceptual markings and imagery. Curry allows these scenes to be interrupted and intertwined with brilliant gold texture that adds dimension to each story and allows his subjects to exist outside of reality in an abstract environment.

In this series, the artist works with gold, not only as a design component, but as a symbol of both the toil and glory of Africa – the nation that birthed the gold and diamonds that defined and begat modern day currency. To this end, each piece is laced in intricate gold accents to pay homage his ancestors and reconnect with the lost knowledge and lineage of a culture. Some compositions visually honor the resilience of past generations, while others are used to bring home the idea of an opulence and abundance in the afro-future.

“When I think back to that contrast, I imagine a country being pulled in two different directions,” Curry summarizes. “It’s up to me, and others who care enough about the future, to do our part in guiding this ship and preserving the dreams of our grandchildren the way our grandparents did for us.”

“Quadre Curry is an artist in the process of realizing himself as a Black man in America, while expanding on the purpose and direction of his art – doing both with finesse and an open heart,” states Gallery Director, Omo Misha. “We want to continue to be a place where promising artists, like Quadre, can perform their authentic selves, present and, most importantly, grow and be encouraged. We look forward to what the future holds for this artist and we are happy to help give him this start.”


Quadre Curry grew up with his mother and grandparents between the Eastside of Detroit and Lilburn, Georgia, also spending time with his father in Highland Park. He received his BA in Visual & Performing Arts from Albany State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkin University. Curry is a proud member of the Detroit Fine Arts Breakfast Club and has participated in local group exhibits throughout the past year, as well as special projects at Irwin House Gallery. This is his first solo exhibition.

RE-FRAMED opens on Saturday, May 21, 2022 from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm and runs through May 30, 2022. Selected works will remain on view in the gallery’s 2nd Level Parlour through June 30, 2022. RE-FRAMED general hours of operation are 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm May 22-30 (closed on Monday, May 23rd). Any inquiries may be directed to Gallery Director, Misha McGlown at irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or 313.932.7690. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208 | http://irwinhousegallery.org FB + IG: @irwinhousegallery | View the Facebook invitation HERE.

IHG debuts BLACK GODDESS: Legacy of the Sacred Feminine

FRI-SUN, April 22-24 — It is with great pride that we welcome author and artist, Keith D Young, for the debut of his book, BLACK GODDESS: Legacy of the Sacred Feminine all weekend, starting on Friday, April 22nd. The book includes ten years of Young’s comprehensive research on Black and African queens, goddesses, and heroines from worldwide history, religion and mythology. Beautifully compiled and illustrated by Young, BLACK GODDESS illuminates women from African and world history, legend and folklore in a way that has never before been seen or approached.

Young will discuss BLACK GODDESS and take questions. Selected illustrations from the book will be on exhibit. Copies will be available for sale and order.

BLACK GODDESS: Legacy of the Sacred Feminine is an absolute must have for…well, everyone!

— Friday, April 22nd | 6 – 9 PM
— Saturday, April 23rd | 2:30 – 5:30 PM
— Sunday, April 24th | 2:30 – 5:30 PM

SPACE IS LIMITED: REGISTER TO ATTEND HERE.


A Conversation with Shirley Woodson & Friends

JOIN US on Saturday, March 27, 2022 for A Conversation with Shirley Woodson Reid, Marian Stephens, Halima Afi Cassells and special guests including Nichole Christian and the women of the WHERE WE AT Exhibition on the Black Arts Movement: Then and Now. View more and RSVP HERE.

Through their work, the twenty+ women in this exhibition are paying homage to the Where We At legacy and revisiting the Black Arts Movement as a whole. Some of our NCA members were there – on the frontlines of the movement forging spaces for black artists to prevail – and are still knocking down walls and serving arts communities as sisters, mentors, beacons, and friends. They, along with a range of emerging and mid-career local artists, comprise this exhibition which creates a bridge to history and helps to tell a story of who and where we are today as black women creatives.

Featured artists: April Anue, Asia Hamilton, Bre’ann White, Charlene Uresy, Crystal Starks Webb, Dawn Stringer, Deborah Brown-Cage, Diane Taylor, Donna Jackson, Halima Afi Cassells, Ida Hawkins, Kristina Beaty, Joan Britton, Marian Stephens, Nonnie Williams, Olivia Indigo, Priscilla Phifer, Rita Dickerson, Robbie Best, Shekenia Mann, Shirley Woodson Reid, and Stephanie Hill Ross.

Exhibition runs thru April 16, 2022 at Irwin House Gallery.

Jonathan Harris’ Famed ‘Critical Race Theory’ Painting Finally Goes Home

SUNDAY, MARCH 20, 2022, 2 PM — Last December, the world learned about Detroit artist, Jonathan Harris, and his Critical Race Theory painting when the artwork began its viral trek around the globe.

The artist has since become an international phenom – first appearing in local media, followed by a plethora of national appearances, including MSNBC with both Joy Reid and Ayman Mohyeldin.

A 24”x 36” oil composition on canvas, Critical Race Theory struck nerves in viewers around the world, compelling the artist to offer and sell thousands of fine art prints of it to supporters, locally, nationally, and across nearly every continent. Arguably, the most famous and sought-after art image of the times, there is scarcely a soul who hasn’t seen and discussed the painting. But, despite many inquiries fielded by the gallery, the original work was already sold before the viral adventure even began.

Acquired by a local Detroit collector when it appeared in Harris’ TRIPTYCH exhibit at the gallery in November, 2021, Critical Race Theory slipped slightly under the radar on opening night, dwarfed by bigger, bolder compositions by Harris and two other artists, Terrell Anglin and Crystal Starks-Webb.

The collector, who is a friend and frequent visitor to the gallery, had been unable to make the reception and caught a glimpse of the painting from the next day’s photos. She said “it spoke to her immediately” but she was also surprised that it had not been purchased the night before – like so many other works in the show, appearing in photos with red dots and proud, new collectors beside them. Without further question, she rushed right over to claim the piece.

As the painting quietly occupied its corner in the TRIPTYCH exhibit for nearly an entire month after sale, no one could have predicted the wild ride it was about to begin – for art and culture’s sake and for Harris, the artist.

The collector, who preferred to remain anonymous while Critical Race Theory appeared in the spotlight, will finally take possession of the painting in a private setting on Sunday, March 20, 2022. “This is the perfect example of a picture being worth a thousand words,” she shared earlier in the Metro Times. “I appreciate the opportunity to be a caretaker of this work, especially at a time when the truth can be viewed as an inconvenience to cover up rather than an inflection point to reconsider what we’ve collectively been taught.”

We are delighted to put it in her hands and we invite you to join us on Sunday at 2:00 pm to share in this next moment in the exciting life of a painting!

Jonathan Harris’ “Critical Race Theory” painting staged at Irwin House Gallery

Sunday, March 20, 2022 @ 2 PM | Irwin House Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48208. RSVP appreciated: 313.932.7690 or irwinhousegallery@gmail.com

A Very NASP Saturday on March 5th

Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery is a not-for-profit art space producing art exhibits and multi-media programs that explore cultural and historical content and give voice and a sense of place for minority interests and concerns. The gallery helps support artists through its Artist-In-Residency program – which invites local, national and global artists to the space for the development of new projects and to contribute to the cultural wealth of Detroit City. Founded in 1974, The National Conference of Artists Michigan (NCA) serves to preserve, promote and develop African American culture through the visual arts and to foster the creative forces of artists emanating from the diaspora and the African World Experience. It is a not-for-profit organization that networks with artists throughout Michigan, nationally, and internationally. Where We At has been juried by Kresge Eminent Artist and NCA of Michigan co-founder, Shirley Woodson-Reid and supported in part by NASP Detroit (National Association of Securities Professionals) – a cultural and community partner of Irwin House Gallery championing the mission of inclusion and business diversity.

WHERE WE AT: A Black & Women’s History Month Exhibition

Irwin House Gallery and the National Conference of Artists of Michigan present WHERE WE AT: A Black & Women’s History Month Exhibition
celebrating the women of the Black Arts Movement
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2022 | DETROIT – In celebration of both Black and Women’s History Months, Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery in partnership with the National Conference of Artists of Michigan presents WHERE WE AT – a juried exhibition featuring twenty-two women artists of the NCA, celebrating the journey of women in the arts, and  inspired by the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and ‘70s. The exhibition opens on Saturday, February 12, 2022 with an all-day Open House event, where guests are invited to stroll through and connect with the artists throughout the day, from 2pm – 7pm.

In the Spring of 1971, a collective of 14 black women staged an exhibition in Greenwich Village, NY and called it “Where We At.” It was one of the first known exhibits featuring a cast of African American women artists and had been produced as a vehicle for the women to be seen and heard within a white-dominated art world, a male-dominated Black Arts Movement, and a feminist movement where they felt largely excluded. After the close of the exhibition, the collective continued to work together under the same name. They supported each other, domestically and creatively, and organized workshops and art classes within schools, prisons, hospitals, and cultural centers within their communities. Their work and camaraderie not only paved the way for Black women in the arts but continues to exemplify the power of the collective and provide a model for marginalized groups looking to multiply their strength and influence.

At the same time, during the ‘60s and 70s, the greater Black Arts Movement was having an impact, not only in New York, but in major cities across the country, including the Detroit-Chicago connection. Through performance, literary and visual arts, black artists combined resources to control the Black narrative, develop markets for their work and, ultimately, to conceive and construct some of the country’s leading institutions of black culture including the Studio Museum of Harlem, the California African American Art Museum, and Detroit’s own Charles H. Wright which, founded in 1965, is one of the world’s oldest independent African American museums.

Where We At Collective. Cookin’ and Smokin’, 1972. Offset printed poster. Collection of David Lusenhop. Photo courtesy of Dindga McCannon Archives, Philadelphia, PA.

Through their work, the twenty+ women in this exhibition are paying homage to the Where We At legacy and revisiting the Black Arts Movement as a whole. Some of our NCA members were there – on the frontlines of the movement forging spaces for black artists to prevail – and are still knocking down walls and serving arts communities as sisters, mentors, beacons, and friends. They, along with a range of emerging and mid-career local artists, comprise this exhibition which creates a bridge to history and helps to tell a story of who and where we are today as black women creatives.

Featured artists: April Anue, Asia Hamilton, Bre’ann White, Charlene Uresy, Crystal Starks Webb, Dawn Stringer, Deborah Brown-Cage, Diane Taylor, Donna Jackson, Halima Afi Cassells, Ida Hawkins, Joan Britton,  Marian Stephens, Nonnie Williams, Olivia Indigo, Priscilla Phifer, Rita Dickerson, Robbie Best, Shekenia Mann, Shirley Woodson Reid,  and Stephanie Hill Ross.
(Left to right) Details of art by Robbie Best, Priscilla Phifer, and Nonnie Williams.

Founded in 1974, The National Conference of Artists Michigan (NCA) serves to preserve, promote and develop African American culture through the visual arts and to foster the creative forces of artists emanating from the diaspora and the African World Experience. It is a not-for-profit organization that networks with artists throughout Michigan, nationally, and internationally. Where We At has been juried by Kresge Eminent Artist and NCA of Michigan co-founder, Shirley Woodson-Reid and supported in part by NASP Detroit (National Association of Securities Professionals) Detroit –a cultural and community partner of Irwin House Gallery supporting the mission of inclusion and business diversity.

Where We At opens on Saturday, February 12, 2022 from 2:00 pm – 7:00 pm and runs through April 16, 2022. General hours of operation are Thursdays – Sundays from 12:00 pm – 7:00 pm and by appointment other days/times. Auxiliary programming TBA. Any inquiries may be directed to Gallery Director, Misha McGlown at irwinhousegallery@gmail.com or 313.932.7690. Irwin House Global Art Center & Gallery, 2351 W. Grand Blvd. (between LaSalle & Linwood), Detroit, MI 48208 | http://irwinhousegallery.org FB + IG: @irwinhousegallery | View Eventbrite invitation HERE. | View the Facebook invitation HERE.

 

MLK Day 2022: Thank U for coming out!

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Irwin House Gallery, Chene Parc, and the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship presented conversation with Detroit artist, Jonathan Harris, on his artistic practice, his rapidly evolving journey in the arts and his, now famous, Critical Race Theory painting. We were joined by Detroit’s Chief Storyteller, Eric Thomas and Cornelius Godfrey – Supervisor of Educational Equity, Inclusion and Community Relationships in the Troy School District and co-founder of Affirm Celebrate Advocate, a community organization focused on meeting the needs of students and families of color. THANK YOU to the City of Detroit and to everyone who came out. We look forward to continuing the conversation….






Photos: Jimel Primm
VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE!