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& Gallery is a not-for-profit art space producing art exhibits and multi-media programs that explore cultural and historical content and give voice and a sense of place for minority interests and concerns.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 Athas been juried by Kresge Eminent Artist and NCA of Michigan co-founder, Shirley Woodson-Reidand 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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….
In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, Irwin House Gallery, Chene Parc, and the City of Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship will present a 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.
Created for an exhibition curated by Harris in November 2021 at Irwin House Gallery, the painting’s viral voyage began when it was shared in early December by The Other 98% – “one of the biggest and loudest voices in the progressive social media world, reaching 7-15 million people every day.” Other social justice forums followed by reposting images of the painting and The Detroit Free Press was the first to take it to print, followed the Detroit Metro Times, leading to widespread media coverage. Harris and the art have since appeared on Roland Martin Unfiltered, with Marc Lamont Hill on BET News, and with Cryss Walker on CBS, and been featured in print in BLAC Magazine, Black Enterprise, the Grio and multiple other local and national news publications. At the start of 2022, Harris was additionally named one of eight artists to watch by The Detroit News.
On behalf of Rochelle Riley and the Detroit Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship, Detroit’s Chief Storyteller, Eric Thomas .will open the MLK Day event and introduce the panelists, including special guest, 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.
The MLK Day Conversation will explore the mind of the artist, the art, and how it has impacted the conversation; the rise and re-branding of Critical Race Theory and, hopefully, how we might all affect change. The event takes place from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 17, 2022 at Chene Parc, in the First National Building at 660 Woodward, Downtown Detroit, 48226.
The event is free to attend, but space is limited and tickets are required. Guests may register and obtain tickets via Eventbrite HERE.
THRU DECEMBER 31, 2021 – For the second consecutive year, Irwin House Gallery presents its Gift of Art Affordable Art Holiday Exhibition, encouraging art-giving for the holidays and featuring the original works of forty+ Detroit area artists. Entitled GIFTED, the exhibition opened on Black Friday and spans across two locations: Irwin House Gallery, located at 2351 W. Grand Blvd and Chene Parc – a creative collective, apparel and mixed-use space newly opened by artist and entrepreneur, Amber Chene, at 660 Woodward in the First National Building, Downtown Detroit. Winding down from its first full year of consecutive programming, GIFTED commemorates an informal anniversary for Irwin House Gallery, celebrates one of Downtown Detroit’s newest arts and retail destinations, and shines a light on the breadth of Detroit talent.
This year, some of the exhibiting artists are also featured at a sister location, Chene Parc, located un the First National Building, Downtown Detroit.
Join us for this VERY SPECIAL celebration in partnership with Jonathan Harris Art. It’s FREE TO ATTEND and proceeds from art sales will benefit the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.
Lastly, come and enjoy the GIFTED Exhibition an meet some of the artists. Every Sunday through December 26th. Feel free to bring a cookie and a friend!
The Irwin House Global Art Center and Gallery is an arts destination that provides local and visiting artists with exhibition opportunities, engages the community through arts exposure and education, and serves to nurture and empower collectors of art. Established in 2015, we opened our doors to the public in 2018, after a hard-fought building rehabilitation. The art space is an outgrowth of the vision of the Valerie Irwin and her late husband, Council B. Irwin, Jr.
TRIPTYCH: Stronger Together — curated by Jonathan Harris and featuring his new work along with Crystal Starks-Webb and Terrell Anglin — has been as much of a whirlwind as we thought it would be…and then some!
With just a couple of days left to catch this wondrous display of Detroit talent, we would like to invite you out to the Artist Talk TONITE (Thursday 11.18) and the closing on Saturday 11.20. You may also visit on Friday, during our normal hours from 12-7 pm.
THANK YOU to everyone who came out to Sam Kthar’s artist talk with music provided by Program 17 – all as part of the SPACES in BETWEEN Exhibit!
Sam shared thoughts on the history, process and inspiration behind her work, and also brought some of her favorite cultural eats for us to enjoy. This included homemade falafel, hummus, freshly baked bread, beautifully manicured cut vegetables, and Sam’s father’s traditional spiced coffee.
These special moments with our exhibiting artists is a big part of the arts community we are hoping to support and build here at IHG. Here are a few moments from this very memorable afternoon:
Friday, October 15, 2021, 6 PM — The evening will begin with a chat with Spaces IN Between artist, Sam Kthar, as we explore her artistry, the thoughtful concepts behind her work, including healing, sacred geometry, and whatever else the conversation brings. Then Program 17 (Tony Delgado) will provide the sounds while we share in some of their favorite cultural noshes and bites. We start at 6 and look forward to seeing you there!
Local artist, Samah Kthar, is influenced by the shift taking place in the world and aims to communicate via sacred geometry, with an ultimate goal of promoting unity and compassion. Although, she has no formal training in art, Kthar has obtained three degrees – in Biology, Health Sciences, and a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Her artistic practice merges knowledge and spirituality while reflecting her Iraqi, New York, and Detroit roots. She has exhibited throughout Greater Detroit and led expressive art therapy workshops with youth in Flint, MI, and at MOCAD in Detroit.
Program 17 (Tony Delgado) finds his musical roots in the early Detroit Techno scene of the 1990s, playing shows alongside techno legends such as Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Adult, and many more. Nearly all of his original songs are derived from his own samples from vintage synthesizers, drum machines, & guitar pedals. His intent is to try to find the “sweet spot” with tone, frequencies, overdrive, delay, and reverb to create beautiful soundscapes, “almost like the sound of the ocean.” Program 17 wants his sounds to represent a sort of natural element, where parts are ominous, yet very beautiful at the same time – similar to how he experienced Detroit, growing up in the city. His process consists of continuous learning and utilizing new techniques and filters mixed with old styles to create something inventive and fresh.
Spaces IN Between runs thru Saturday, October 30, 2021.
— General Hours: Thurs-Sun 12:00 – 7:00 PM.
By appointment other days/times.