Come September, we will celebrate our first year of operation in our physical location as a Black art, culture, and retail space at Midtown Square. This past May marked our two-year anniversary as an online publication, and we continue to dream big for our future.
Growth is on the horizon for this publication. Our goal is to engage more writers and contributors, expanding our ability to tell more stories that highlight the local, national, and international Black art world. Slow and steady growth is our motto, but we are excited about what growth we will experience in the not-too-distant future.
Becoming the anchor tenant at Midtown Square last year, also put ownership on our horizon. From the start, our intention was to own our destiny by owning our space completely. Fortunately from the outset, part of our negotiations with the Midtown developers incorporated a path to ownership. We anticipate that by the end of September, our purchase of the over 4,700 square feet will be complete. We owe all of our gratitude to a set of donors, and grants from the City of Seattle and the State of Washington who have invested in our vision of ownership. Before the close of this year, we will also begin build-out of the small recording studio and maker space.
These past couple of years have brought us closer to our community in so many ways. Friends and neighbors drop in just to say hello, and personally, I have reconnected with so many classmates from elementary through high school who have come through. My friends, just like me, like to shop and we try to keep it fresh for them to find something new with each visit. New retail tenants at Midtown have also energized our sense of community. The exchanged “hello’s” with Trey Lamont and Jerk Shack staff always offer a delight, and watching Takiyah “T-Dub” Ward, build out her Re-Sole space is thrilling. How perfect for her new retail venture, to be located directly across from the 120-foot mural that she designed and painted. Perfection! And soon more neighbors will join our Midtown crew.
23rd & Union was always a place for connecting and slowly but surely, we are witnessing some return of that familial environment.
Two years ago when ARTE NOIR launched online, there were very few outlets with a focus on Black art and culture matters. We have now seen an exponential growth in artist spotlights, and Black art coverage in general, which we applaud. It confirms for us that there is an interest in, and a market for, spotlighting and celebrating our creativity and our culture.
We are very clear that none of this would even be possible if not for the resilience and dedication of the artists to whom we dedicate all of our efforts. Our donors, supporters, and all of our subscribers have provided us with the incentive to keep it pushing, and push we will.
Happy anniversary to us! Thank YOU!!!
Vivian Phillips, Founder + Board President