CLEVELAND — Located in Cleveland’s historic Fairfax neighborhood, where some of the greats like Langston Hughes got their start down the street at the Karamu House, Deep Roots Art Experience is providing a space exclusively for the next generation Black artists to showcase their art and talent.
“We made that decision after taking a look at the art scene in Cleveland and recognizing that there weren't very many places, if any, that really cater to the art produced by Black and brown people,” said David Ramsey, founder and co-owner of Deep Roots Experience, which was recently featured in our 100 hidden gems of Cleveland list.
Christa Freehands has been working at Deep Roots Experience since it opened. As her name says, she free-hands all of her pieces.
“I definitely know I get a lot of inspiration from pop art, but I also really like surrealism,” she said.
What separates Deep Roots Experience from other art galleries in the city is that it’s a permanent space where anyone can come see art made from an artist of color, authentically curated in a space that celebrates Black artists all year round and not just during a special event.
“Too often the artwork in the artful experience of black and brown people is subjugated right to pop-ups, right, where you may have a small experience for a day anywhere that there are successful black art scenes. There are institutions or spaces dedicated to making sure that happens,” Ramsey said.
Freehands said Deep Roots Experience shows kids in the neighborhood that they, too, can pursue a career in the arts.
“I think it's a special place because it's not a lot of young Black kids understand that you can do stuff like this as a career,” Freehands said.
As for what makes Deep Roots Experience a hidden gem? It comes down to one word for Ramsey: authenticity.
“More often than I think America would like to admit things that are created by Black and brown people are taken and then they are turned into these commercialized versions," Ramsey said. "And this is one of our attempts to take that power back. What we do here is we invite anyone who wants to come in and experience the art in the way that we experience."
Deep Roots Experience, located at 7901 Central Avenue, is currently holding several exhibitions including “Ghetto Heroes” and “The Installations Series: Christa Freehands."
Deep Roots Experience will host the 3rd annual "SheArt" Festival on July 17 from 4 to 9 p.m.
Find more info on current and upcoming events and exhibitions here.
RELATED: 100 hidden gems of Cleveland
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