/David Colbert & Gallery 90220: Elevating the Black Experience Through Art

David Colbert & Gallery 90220: Elevating the Black Experience Through Art

There is one art gallery in L.A. that everyone is talking about: Compton-inspired Gallery 90220. It’s quickly becoming a hotspot for multicultural and minority artists and at its heart is executive director David Colbert, Jr.

Colbert is passionate about art and the Black experience. The latest attraction to hit Gallery 90220 is the edgy photography exhibit “Parallel Kin”.

“This exhibit is all about Black expression,” he says. “These photographs are intensely vulnerable and carry a unique perspective.” The two photographers featured in the exhibit hail from Los Angeles and New Orleans respectively and their work combines to create a fresh new fusion of separate cultures and styles.

It’s hot and vibrant and the essence of Gallery 90220. Colbert is dedicated to connecting artists from around the world and bringing them together in L.A., and he has big plans for artists of color in his hometown of Compton as well.

Gallery 90220 Breaks Cultural Boundaries

Colbert’s gallery is a passion project, a pivotal art institution for the legendary city of Compton, and a hub of creativity for emerging artists. “I have a burden for young artists,” says Colbert. “We’re getting more notable artists here, along with celebrity visitors, and that’s all very exciting. But I want to create a platform for new artists so they can rise to greatness.”

Love of art and a heart for the young unrecognized artist is what led Colbert to create Compton’s first art walk, a monthly festival that unites local artists and businesses to collaborate, network and showcase their talents and hard work while driving economic support to Compton.

Colbert was inspired by the Los Angeles art walk and wanted to give the concept a particularly Compton flair. “This is a chance for participants of our programs to volunteer, participate and assist in every aspect of the festival,” says Colbert. “They help with planning, marketing, all the way to execution.”

Gallery 90220 and the Compton Art Walk share a similar set of goals, envisioned by Colbert and his creative team: “We want to establish a historic platform through authentic experiences that provides former, present, and future residents the opportunity to support and show pride for their city’s rich heritage of musical and artistic talent.”

While the last Compton Art Walk was held over a year ago, Colbert looks forward to bringing the popular event back to the city.

Colbert’s Take On The Business of Art

Colbert realizes that many artists dream of supporting themselves through their creativity, and he wants his team to be part of that experience. “Networking is everything,” he says. Events like the Compton Art Walk and exhibits at Gallery 90220 allow artists to showcase their talents and meet the people who will change their lives. “We want our artists to find mentors,” says Colbert. “That will help young artists organize their vision. They need to trust themselves and a wise counselor can guide them through their professional development.”

This applies to funding the gallery and festival as well as the featured exhibits. “Funding local art gives patrons something to be proud of,” says Colbert. “This year we plan to raise six figures to hire more staff and provide free art programming for the Los Angeles community.”

Why free, one might wonder? Art is definitely a business, and it takes sponsors to keep the lights on at the gallery. But Colbert believes art should be accessible to all. “We offer multiple platforms for artists,” he says. “We have a podcast along with the gallery and we have started a local flea market.”


He takes personal responsibility for the running and maintaining of the various endeavors of the gallery. “I want to be there for our artists,” he says. “I’m willing to personally connect artists to brands and collectors that can further their careers. I also curate and offer artistic advice to brands.”

Colbert has seen young artists grow discouraged and wants to offer ways to help build their careers and dreams. “Success is never giving up,” he affirms. “Success is progress. Success is a mindset. Achieving your ultimate goal doesn’t happen by accident.”

Gallery 90220 A Labor of Love

Colbert’s gallery is the premier art gallery in the area, attracting talented young artists and discerning patrons who truly love culture. “My goal,” he reveals, “ is to connect brands to collaborate.”

Those brands, he says, include art suppliers. “There’s currently no diversity in art supply. I’m going to change this. I’m creating a line of art supplies that are inspired by and created specifically for the Black experience.” He’s also creating a website designed for artists of color to build a community, sell their art, and share ideas.

“We’re curating events,” Colbert says, “designed to connect the art scene of color to brands that will sponsor them and further their careers.” He dreams of connecting young artists of color to the entertainment industry – introducing them to big names that will get them into set design, costumes, makeup, and more.

“I love movies,” Colbert admits, laughing. “I even want to acquire original artwork and photographs from select movies and television series and connect them to physical spaces, or installations, for the public to enjoy.”

All About David: Art Curator, Art Advisor, Art Lover

David Colbert Jr. is a third-generation Compton native and studied sociology at California State University. He’s always loved art and he’s always loved people, and as one of the top emerging curators in L.A., he is a devoted advocate for the arts, keen on fostering culture in his community.

Colbert is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Compton Art Walk Inc. and the creator of the city’s first art walk in 2018. Since then, Colbert has been recognized as a leading creative mind in Compton, and his proudest moment was founding and opening Gallery 90220. The contemporary art gallery, designed by the prestigious Gensler architecture firm, opened its doors in 2021, featuring pieces from internationally acclaimed artist Gianni Lee and an exclusive photography exhibition from the Oscar award-winning film Two Distant Strangers (both events curated by Colbert).

Colbert has been interviewed by Harvard University to document his impact on the art scene in Compton, and his gallery was featured in the Los Angeles Times for providing a unique space for Black creatives to collaborate. The gallery also received a New York Times mention for reviving art culture and history in Compton and is recognized as a Black-owned business as part of Forbes Green Book Guide.

Colbert is also the Executive Producer of the Red Dot Series podcast, which features top young creatives from around the country. The podcast has enjoyed many notable guests, including Grammy award-winning artist Jairus Mozee. The series has also been featured on Vh1’s hit television series Black Ink

Colbert’s most recent venture has been founding the Red Dot Market, a festival located in the historic Central Avenue distract of Los Angeles. The festival celebrates culture, art, food, fashion, small businesses, and music.

The Future of Ethnically Diverse Art in Compton

“I love L.A.,” says Colbert. “But my heart is in Compton. I want to open a gallery here, on the streets where I grew up. This city is everything to me.”

Gallery 90220 is well on its way to becoming the premier space for artists of collect to connect. Colbert plans to curate larger artistic events that bring in Black artists and sponsors and brands to connect with them. “As I said, I’m excited about launching my line of art supplies that cater specifically to people of color,” he reiterates. “My new website, when launched, will allow emerging artists of color to sell their art and get their careers kickstarted. Art is moving into the digital space, bringing opportunities we’ve never seen before.”

His dream is to curate an exhibition or event for Moca or Lacma. “That would be such an inspiration for our culture,” he admits. “It would open a door and demonstrate that there is room in the art industry for my people.”

Colbert continues to shape the young art scene as a business owner of color. Referring back to his upcoming website, he shares, “Digital art allows endless possibilities for artists to be seen and heard. Even now these moments set the tone for the future. Online platforms will allow patrons, sponsors, and fans to buy art, and will allow artists to sell and promote their work.”

Colbert, his gallery, and his team are certain to be at the forefront of this change.

Website:

https://www.gallery90220.com/

Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/godson_dc/
https://www.instagram.com/gallery90220/

David Colbert Jr. is the Executive Director of the Compton Art Walk, Owner of Gallery 90220, Producer of the Red Dots Series podcast, and Founder of the Red Dot MRKT, a flea market that highlights art, food, and fashion. Gallery 90220 is a contemporary art gallery dedicated to promoting emerging artists of color.

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