ONE OF Charleston’s newest art galleries features original art, jewelry and pottery by Southern African American artists. Located at the start of Gallery Row, in a building where Confederate money was once printed, Neema Fine Art Gallery represents 15 artists, including 2019 Yaddo Resident and winner of the 2019 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Artist of the Year Award Tyrone Geter, renowned civil rights-era photographer and 2019 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement awardee Cecil Williams, highly collected husband-and-wife potters Winton and Rosa Eugene, and acclaimed collage artist James Denmark.
Says gallery owner Meisha Johnson: “My mission is three-fold: to help increase the number of African American artists that are represented by galleries on the peninsula, to help diversify who shops here and to encourage the emergence of more minority-owned businesses here.”
Weekly events include Sweetgrass Basket Thursdays, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., featuring discussions and demonstrations of this quintessential Lowcountry art form; Book Signing Saturdays, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., with talks by local award-winning authors; and weekly music and art instruction for all ages. The gallery also features monthly art shows. Soon to come are monthly fine dining experiences coupled with live performances through the Sankofa Supper Club and Dinner Theater.
Johnson, who has fostered exciting partnerships in the community, says, “I want everyone who enters the gallery to feel a sense of ownership, to come in and experience the art and feel at home—this is their gallery.”