Every month ArtsATL spotlights one of the many galleries in metro Atlanta. This column runs the last Monday of every month. Suggestions are welcome. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Catch up on our May visit to TEW Galleries.)
What do you do when you don’t see many galleries representing artists that look like you? If you’re Arnika Dawkins, you open your own photographic fine art spot. Arnika Dawkins Gallery is in a little cottage in Atlanta’s Midwest Cascade neighborhood. For Dawkins, its owner and director, it’s important that people who look like you can see, acquire and live with art. It’s art to pass on to your descendants.
In 2012, Dawkins gave herself permission to pursue her passion and connect collectors to artwork that’s “significant, inspiring and provocative.” Part of her mission is to expose people to the joy of what’s visually or aesthetically moving — work that makes you think about something and have great conversations. Especially significant, she says, is celebrating and supporting artists while they’re living.
Arnika Dawkins Gallery is open only by appointment for now but is definitely in the virtual space with a Covid-19 Relief Effort, in which a percentage of all sales are donated to Feeding America. To lift up a banner of justice in these times, the gallery is showing Juneteenth: Celebrating Freedom (through July 30), with new work by photographer Ervin A. Johnson.
LOCATION, ETC.: 4600 Cascade Road, 404.333.0312. Schedule appointments via the website or by emailing email@example.com. Follow the gallery’s exhibitions and conversations on Artsy and Instagram.
SPECIALTY: Photographic images by and of African Americans through which viewers can gain something by the act of looking. Group and solo shows of contemporary, conceptual art. The gallery does two to three exhibitions annually. Dawkins also exhibits work in Los Angeles, Miami and Washington, D.C., and does the annual Photography Show in New York, organized by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers. She represents emerging, midcareer and well-known artists there, including Atlanta’s Allen Cooley and New York’s Builder Levy.
MORE ON DAWKINS: She left a Fortune 500 corporate career to earn a master’s degree in digital photography from SCAD. She and her husband, Stephen, have collected art since the late 1980s when they lived in New York. Her gallery power team: Rebecca Morgan, a professional photographer and gallery assistant, and gallery intern Kendra Walker.
ON VIEW: Keris Salmon’s flora cyanotypes created during Covid-19 isolation and titled The Corona Greenhouse Blues (through July 30).
COMING UP: Look for the exhibitions Black Girl Magic and Atlanta on My Mind in late summer or early fall.
MOST MEMORABLE: On Being Black, an invitational exhibition in 2015 with such renowned artists as Albert Chong, Renee Cox and Hank Willis Thomas. The youngest artist was 22 and just out of college. The oldest was 85.
QUOTE: “I think artists are dialed to another level of sensitivity,” Dawkins says. “It’s another way that we communicate. I’m privileged to show artists that have something significant to say with their photography. It’s a visual dialogue.”
In times like these, when we are separated by necessity, ArtsATL is needed more than ever. Please consider a donation so we can continue to highlight Atlanta’s creative community.