On a drizzling summer night, the glow of promise and anticipation shone bright on H Street Northeast, as Chela Mitchell, a fierce advocate for artists of color, celebrated the launch of her eponymous art gallery at a private dinner. Situated in the bustling epicenter of D.C.’s food, art, and culture, and with the who’s who of the District’s art community rallied around her, Chela Mitchell Gallery‘s pre-opening dinner marked an unforgettable milestone in the local art scene’s vibrant tapestry.
The opening dinner was hosted at Bronze, a trendy H Street restaurant. Keem Hughley, one of the restaurant’s owners, and noted architect Jimmie Drummond, whose keen eye for design has enhanced many urban spaces, were among the esteemed attendees. With a menu curated by Mitchell herself, the gastronomic offerings were rivaled only by the sparkling conversations and the vivacious company.
Every sip of the specialty cocktail, crafted with Blackleaf Organic Vodka – a local sensation– whispered stories of D.C’s love for all things organic and homegrown. At this intersection of art and culinary finesse, the evening flowed with the vibrancy of a perfectly mixed cocktail – smooth, potent and unforgettable.
The spotlight of the evening was Nate Langston Palmer, a D.C. native turned Brooklyn resident, whose photography has created mesmerizing narratives using local D.C. dancers as subjects since 2019.
“The intention behind this work is to capture the beauty in interpretive work, as a commentary on cultural erasure,” Palmer shared.
Palmer’s work – an exploration of displacement, motion and emotion – is the first to be exhibited at the gallery, drawing in the artistic cognoscenti like a moth to a flame.
Art writer and blogger Jasmin Hernandez, founder of GalleryGurls, offered nuanced commentary on the wonder of woman-led art throughout the night. Sitting at the table beside her were the National Gallery of Art’s Curator Katrina Fletcher and Deputy Director of Development Maria Bonta de la Pezuela, the former Sotheby’s senior vice president for Private Clients and Sales Strategy.
Collector Janjay Sherman and Sandlot Co-Founder Kevin “Scooty” Hallums added to the convivial diversity of art luminaries.
Chela Mitchell Gallery’s opening is more than just an event – it is a symphony of art, diversity, and fellowship. The gallery, a brainchild of Mitchell’s, pioneers a space for artists of color, setting a precedence for inclusivity and representation. The establishment of this Black woman-owned gallery in the District marks a significant evolution in the local arts community, shedding light on diverse narratives and unique artistic expressions.
As Mitchell takes the baton forward in this important race towards inclusive representation in art, her vision is as clear as it is ambitious.
Growing up in Southeast, Mitchell envisions a world where the language of art is universal, breaking barriers of color, geography, and socio-economic backgrounds. A world where every artist, irrespective of their race or ethnicity, is given a platform to paint their stories, dance their dreams, and carve their realities.
“This gallery is a gift to D.C., a city that has given me so much,” Mitchell said. “When you’re viewing the art in my gallery, you’re viewing through the lens of a Black woman from Southeast, D.C.”
For more information or to visit Chela Mitchell Gallery visit: chelamitchellgallery.com