Celebrating Black Art in Atlanta
Atlanta’s Black art scene is one of the best in the country, and visiting the galleries and museums throughout the city is a great way to get aligned with Atlanta’s creative pulse. While staples like The High Museum of Art and Museum of Design Atlanta often give space to Black art and design, there are several places in the city to set your eye on the artistic genius within the Black community. Here are three spots that cater exclusively to showcasing thriving talent and amplifying opportunities for new up-and-coming Black artists within Atlanta’s art scene. These enclaves of art are absolute must-visits for any art buff and speaks to the lasting influence that Atlanta has on the world.
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Kent Johnson is the co-founder of the digital platform & award-winning travel company for Black millennials, Black & Abroad, where he not only sheds light on the journeys of expats and travelers of color, he also partners with travel-centric brands to create authentic & organic campaigns for the millennial consumer and crafts group travel experiences to destinations worldwide.
Kent has been published in The Huffington Post & Cassius Magazine, featured in Black Enterprise, Ebony, MIC, Rolling Out, VICE & Creative Loafing, named one of the 100 most influential African-Americans of 2017 by The Root and recognized with a Creative Data Grand Prix for his work behind Black & Abroad’s “Go Back to Africa” campaign at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. He’s spoken at the United Nations, Facebook, MasterCard, and other entities on topics such as social media branding & digital marketing, diversity & inclusion, the travel & spending habits of millennials and technology in travel. In his spare time, Kent hosts a podcast on culture & current events and is a practicing attorney.
100 Centennial Olympic Park Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30313
ZuCot Gallery is the largest African American fine arts gallery in the southeastern United States, so it’s only appropriate that Atlanta is where the space is located. ZuCot represents artists from all over the country and hosts a rotating collection of modern & contemporary pieces in a variety of mediums, curating a broad range of work from seasoned creatives and artists on the rise.
ZuCot is known for its tastefully crafted exhibitions that speak to the nuances within every corner of the Black experience. Over 95% of the art on display at the gallery has been crafted by the hands of Black artists; a number the gallery is happy to maintain.
Thankfully, if you happen to fall in love with one of the pieces hanging within the gallery, you might be lucky enough to also take it home with you, as the works in ZuCot are generally available for purchase.
Trap Music Museum
630 Travis St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
One of Atlanta’s newest museums, the Trap Music Museum, is an interactive experience that uses art to showcase the rich culture of trap music, one of the most popular genres within rap music. The Trap Museum speaks directly to the city’s history with impacting culture, capturing both Atlanta’s stronghold on the hip-hop scene as well as the burgeoning voices of artists who were influenced by the music. The museum’s art exhibitions pay homage to the inspiring trials and triumphs of today’s biggest trap music stars like Atlanta natives T.I., 2 Chainz, and Migos, and also provides a platform for emerging graphic and visual artists who are influenced by the music and culture.
Created to coincide with the 15th anniversary of Atlanta local and music veteran T.I.’s album “Trap Muzik,” the museum opened in 2019 and quickly became a popular destination for both Atlantans and out-of-towners who yearn for an interactive experience to help illustrate the journeys of some of their favorite rap artists. Originally intended to be a limited pop-up experience, the overwhelming demand has made it a mainstay in the city. Complete with actors to heighten the immersive experience, the museum serves as a capsule of culture and a testament to Atlanta’s clinch on the music scene.
In addition to opening its doors to up-and-coming artists to showcase their artwork, the museum also hosts an escape room and hip-hop centered exhibitions throughout the year with original artwork and photography directly shaped by Atlanta culture.
To cut the line for this extremely popular attraction, book your tickets in advance online. Heighten your visit by visiting during the museum’s champagne assisted “Trappy Hour” that happens every Thursday.
The Musa Lair Grooming & Art Gallery
981 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Both a barber shop and an art gallery, the Musa Lair Grooming & Art Gallery is a unique blend of creativity and style, and a one-of-a-kind experience that harnesses the trailblazing energy Atlanta is known for. It’s only right that this smart take on an art experience is situated in Atlanta’s largest hub for creativity, the historic King Plow Art Center. Likely the only place in the city where you can get a haircut and a fine art experience in the same building, Musa Lair is the brainchild of celebrity barber Marcus Harvey, who wanted to create a place where Black culture was amplified throughout. With the barber shop being one of the cornerstones of the Black community, art within Musa Lair reflects the topics of conversations often had in barber shops, with politics, sports and music being the common theme present throughout the contemporary collection of artwork.
When you visit, you may also catch a glimpse of a local celebrity like Ludacris in one of the barber chairs admiring art, as the shop is widely known for its celebrity clients.
Musa Lair is a great under-the-radar addition to Atlanta’s art scene and a forward thinking approach to art consumption.
The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art
Camille Olivia Hanks Building – 1st Floor, 440 Westview Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30310
Opened in 1996, Spelman College Museum of Fine Art has been an integral seam in the fabric of the Spelman community, centered on displaying works of Black women artists from all levels of career. The museum began actively securing & collecting works by Black women in the 1980s, but its archive of art goes back as far as the 1930s. The collection is a thoughtful highlight to Atlanta’s art community, and best of all, open to the general public.
Clark Atlanta University Art Museum
Trevor Arnett Hall – 2nd Floor, 223 James P. Brawley Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30314
Clark Atlanta University Art Museum is another gathering of fine art that celebrates the role of African Americans in American history and culture. Motivated by providing an opportunity for African American artists who had been excluded from, or marginalized by mainstream art spaces and circuits, the University’s esteemed collection is due in part to the work of noted painter Hale Woodruff, who initiated the submission process that was the genesis for the museum’s permanent collection.
The collection houses works by some of the earliest formally trained African American artists, contemporary works from artists influenced by Atlanta, and selections that represent corners of the African diaspora. The space now houses over 1200 pieces of Black art.
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