Rochester’s Roots: Inspire Arte Gallery

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester’s newest Black-owned art gallery is now up and running. The owner tells News10NBC her unique gallery does more than just different types of artwork, it’s also a place to come and get inspired.

We visited the Inspire Arte Gallery and found out why it’s so important for the community as we celebrate Black History Month.

Owner Alexis Russell said Inspire Arte Gallery offers space for artists to be all of who they are, without being afraid, or unapologetic at their core.

“It’s very important to create as many platforms as possible.” That’s the mission Inspire Arte Gallery’s Alexis Russell is on right now. She’s creating new platforms featuring local African-American artists, and their artwork during Black History Month.

“We want to get your work out into the community so that we can share it with those who live here,” Russell said. “We really want to feature, and highlight the artists, and give them another platform to show who they are.”

Dominique Alexandria is an artist from Rochester and added some of her work to the gallery.

“It’s truly appreciated to be a part of the space for the recognition of February, however, we are living through history right now,” Alexandria said.

One of her contributions is titled “Capoeira.” A piece of graffiti-style artwork. She describes her inspiration.

“Inspired through various movements, pictures of melanated Black folks who are dancing, drumming. It’s like an original piece. They’re just on the land playing, and then I did my own thing,” said Alexandria.

Russell’s gallery space is located at 57 University Avenue. It’s no bigger than a small bedroom, but it’s a space where Russell says one can get away from their everyday stress through art.

“For People of Color we often times think that you know either therapy isn’t for us, or at the same time you know you just don’t know where to start with taking care of your mental health, and for me art has always been a way to do that through performing arts. So I’m a singer, and I relieve my stress that way. That’s self-care for me in many ways, but other people there’s poetry. There’s pottery. There’s painting. There’s photography, videography,” Russell said.

Speaking of photography, Russell’s walls each contain the “placeholder photos” of women who inspired her and instill values in her that she carries on in her life. Legendary singer Tina Turner, Novelist Toni Morrison, Civil Rights Activist and Poet Maya Angelou, and “Selma” Filmmaker Ava Duvernay.

“They’re powerful Black women who remind me of who I am, and my core as a woman who was raised without a mother in the home. I was raised by my father and grandmother. I often leaned on pop culture to really teach me who I was as a woman,” Russell said.

Click here if you’re a local Black artist with your own art that you would like to share through the Inspire Arte Gallery during black history month.