CounterSpaceGallery was created as a vehicle to transform the conversation on the way Black Art is made, presented, curated and critiqued in Minnesota. It is also a reflection of our relationships, our living conditions told through story, creativity and foresight.
CounterSpaceGallery was also created as a platform to address issues affecting our diaspora, the North Minneapolis community and feature the work of African American artists. This includes, but not exclusive to, our physical, social, emotional and artistic/spiritual selves.
CounterSpaceGallery founders all hail from North Minneapolis. The NorthSide, or 'Over-North' as it is affectionately called by native northsiders, is an area experiencing some of the worst social decay in America. This reality is evidenced from newly released data (national and state), clearly outlining the some of the country's worst racial disparities. We interacted with said data and decided the creation of ‘Black’ spaces in town were exigently vital in town. We concluded that if we were to continue to tell our story(s), live and develop as artists, that space is very important. The NorthSide is also an area under dramatic change with the onset of an extreme and aggressive form of gentrification. For some of us, this is not new data or change. This reality expresses continuity and is part of our long and troubled story, as African Americans, here in Minnesota.
CounterSpaceGallery is an organic coalescing of African American creatives, empaths and thought leaders. And in expressing new forms, our website is a glimpse into what is happening in our lives, neighborhoods and on the ground. We are moving from within the community. We are a cultural institution. Our aim is to construct another context, alternate space; a counter-space….a space that counts-that means something.
CounterSpace Gallery stands on the notion of Black Art(s) as the historical and cultural feedback loop sent from Black people into the world, into history and the future. We are fully aware that we are also standing the immense shoulders of African American imagination, ideas, hopes and struggle. We express this through futuristic and historic motifs, folk and classical forms and idioms. We see these cultural landmarks as the continuation of affirming our place in history, as they weave in and out of every cultural crevice in the city, state, country and world. We align ourselves with an internationally raised level of art in action. And in the present moment in contemporary art, we see our reflection as the major cultural influence in the western and larger world.
CounterSpaceGallery is a labor of love. Our directive is to continue to carry on creating bridges from our past to the present cultural landscape but, push boundaries into the future of our expressive culture. Our approach is to simply reorganize our story(s) and share them with you. Overwhelmingly, African American cultural/folk forms continue to influence cultural norms, as evidenced in the appropriation of them. They continue to exist as the spaces where mainstream and pop culture’s represented archetypes are crafted...and go to ‘cop’ from. However, our existence as creatives has been under scrutiny, uneven narratives and policy. As we have had to overcome and resist erasure, antiquated storylines, and myopia, we see the best is yet to come.
CounterSpace Gallery lastly acts and moves from a deep cultural context for self-determination, innovation, creativity and love. We consider what we do cultural work. It is our mission to move to create work, and new-spaces for African American stories, collaboration, resistance, tenderness and love. Realizing this analysis as the determining factor of the space Black Art makes, we paint, dance, write and show our love for each other. We are intent on living on with these tropes, nuances as our compasses to forge new traditions. We are also a social innovation cooperative for research and community development. Lastly, with each collaboration and partnership, our artists welcome challenges. We stay interested and open to the horizon.
CounterSpace Gallery looks to the future of artists telling new truths that mean something to them. For these new truths are turning old truths into new lies. But these new platforms need new capacities and new infrastructures to support them. Hence the reason we founded the gallery.
- - - Kirk Washington Jr. “Bro Sun” , May 9th 1974 - April 4th 2016
“Protect Your Heart” | “Never Stop Creating” | “The Enemy of Love is Apathy”