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8 Black-Owned Art Galleries and Museums You Should Know

Aug 10, 2023 10:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho

For years, Black people have largely been excluded from the executive board and permanent collections of America’s most prestigious galleries and museums. Black-owned art galleries and museums provoke emotion, translate our joy and pain, and highlight our originality. To help elevate Black visibility, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Black-owned museums and galleries from around the world, below.

1. The Colored Girls Museum (Philadelphia, PA)

The Colored Girls Museum is a memoir museum founded by Vashti DuBois that honors the stories, experiences, and history of ordinary Colored Girls. The first of its kind, the museum initiates the object—submitted by the Colored Girl herself—as a representative of an aspect of her story and personal history which she finds meaningful. These objects embody her experience and expression of being a Colored Girl.


2. Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (Brooklyn, NY)

Founded in 1999 by Laurie Angela Cumbo in a building owned by the Bridge Street AME Church in the Bedford-Stuyvesant community of Brooklyn, New York, the concept of MoCADA grew from Ms. Cumbo’s graduate thesis. Through exhibitions, community programming, and educational initiatives centered on social justice, MoCADA incites dialogue on pressing social and political issues facing the African Diaspora and fosters a dynamic space for creating and continuously evolving culture.


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3. 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning (London)

Founded in 1988, 198’s motivation initially focused on the need to provide a platform for Afro-Caribbean and Asian artists as part of the Black arts movement. For nearly 30 years this work has evolved and continued to develop with projects that consider the work and study of emerging cultural identities, through exhibitions, workshops, education projects, and critical debate with artists, thinkers, activists, young people, and local and artistic communities. 198 is committed to diversity, inclusion, and equality, and its work within the art community goes hand in hand with social activism.


4. Galerie MAM (Douala, Cameroon)

Founded in 1995 by art lover and businesswoman, Marème Malong Meslin Samb. Galerie MAM Douala is a contemporary art gallery. It is a place of discovery, learning, and appropriation dedicated to contemporary art. It initiates and awakens a wide audience to open-ended artistic activities such as painting, sculpture, installation, and photography. 


5. Black Wall Street Gallery (Tulsa, OK)

Black Wall Street Gallery focuses on building better relationships between racialized communities. They use the arts and education to bring people together, create more opportunities for dialogue, improved access to culture, and deliver an experiential understanding of identity. Black Wall Street Gallery was created as an homage to ancestors lost in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and as a continuation of what it represented as an empowered entrepreneurial community. Their first location opened on Greenwood Avenue in Tulsa OK because this very intersection was, and still is, the heart of Black Wall Street.


6. Zoma Museum (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia)

The Zoma Museum, formerly known as the Zoma Contemporary Art Center, is an environmentally conscious artist-in-residency project located in Addis Ababa and Harla, a historical village near Dire Dawa in Ethiopia. It is named after Zoma Shiferraw, a young artist who died of cancer in 1979. The activities of the Zoma Museum include a gallery, library, children's center, restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop, vegetables, herbs, flowers and trees garden, elementary school, amphitheater, and animal farm.


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7. The DuSable Black History Museum (Chicago)

The DuSable Museum of African American History is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and disseminating the history and culture of Africans and African Americans. The museum is proud of its diverse holdings which number more than 15,000 pieces and include paintings, sculptures, print works, and historical memorabilia.


8. The Museum of Black Civilisations (Dakar, Senegal)

The Museum of Black Civilisations is a national museum, that opened in December 2018. It is directed by Hamady Bocoum, an archaeologist and researcher at Cheikh-Anta-Diop University. The museum is a space for encounters and dialogue between the cultures and civilizations of the world. The museum never loses sight of its aim to educate and enlighten the visitor on the role of black African art and ingenuity in human civilization. This includes a display that focuses on the contribution of Africa to medicine, mathematics, and architecture.


9. Skoto Gallery - New York, NY

Skoto Gallery was established in 1992 as a space where some of the best works by African artists can be exhibited within the context of a diverse audience. Its inaugural exhibition was curated by African-American jazz luminary Ornette Coleman. As one of the first galleries specializing in contemporary African Art in New York City, it has been instrumental in the progression of this rapidly growing field. Despite its major commitment to contemporary African Art, the gallery has also managed to expand, deepen and diversify its involvement with contemporary issues by engaging a wide range of art and artists in its programming.

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 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.  

She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content. 

Read more from Boitumelo Masihleho:

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