By Dawn Tree
Bridging the gap between the black and white communities in Tulsa is a huge inspiration behind the first year of art exhibitions at the newly opened Black Wall Street Gallery on the northeast corner of Greenwood and Archer.
Dr. Ricco Wright, who is originally from Turley, is the artistic director of the gallery and the chairman of Black Wall Street Arts. Wright has selected 24 artists in total to collaborate during the first year, with a pairing of one black artist and one white artist each month.
“I have two daughters and my eldest is mixed. As such, I wish to live in a world where my eldest, who’s the reigning Miss Black Tulsa, fits in and doesn’t have identity issues,” Wright exclaims.
Envisioning a blended society is the motivation behind Wright, who attended Langston University for mathematics on a Bill Gates scholarship and later obtained his doctorate at Columbia University in New York, where he resided for 10 years. Reflections of New York’s diverse cultures and unity have also inspired Wright’s plans for an art gallery.
The first two artists featured are Alexander Tamahn and JP Morrison Lans. One painting was sold the night of the opening and it was the work of Lans.
Wright wishes to create a space for artists to sell their work and reap accurately. The gallery takes only 15% commission. “I just disagree with taking upwards of 60% of an artist’s work. We’re here to create platforms and grant access,” Wright says.
Wright admits he hasn’t exactly been on the scene apart from throwing a series of Black Wall Street summer soirées. These soirées, he says, were all about building a stronger arts community in Tulsa. “I hosted soirées at my home in Gilcrease Hills because I wanted to create a space where a diverse group of poets, writers, painters and other intellectuals could come together and just be without having a spotlight on them.”
This is Wright’s first time opening a gallery and one obstacle he says was startup capital. The soirées, he admitted, didn’t exactly help with funding this project, but they did help with bridging the gap in Tulsa. He also said that he decided to not be on the scene much in the hopes of getting a lay of the land and that he acted on his ideas only when he understood the landscape enough to affect change.
Follow Black Wall Street Gallery on Facebook to learn more about the next pair of artists to feature at the gallery.
Wright also has another project underway through Black Wall Street Theatre entitled “The Hexagon,” a series of six short plays featuring a phenomenal local cast, at the Nightingale Theater, Oct. 4-6.