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A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show comes to Cleveland I-X Center

Since its beginning in 2019, A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show has visited more than 25 cities across the U.S. and has seen more than 72,000 attendees.
A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show
Since its beginning in 2019, A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show has visited more than 25 cities across the U.S. and has seen more than 72,000 attendees.

Since its inception in 2019, A Spectacular Black Girl Art Show has traveled to more than 25 U.S. cities, amplifying the talents of Black women in the arts. The show makes its first stop in Cleveland Sunday from 3-9 p.m. at the I-X Center.

Founder and curator Joshua Love’s idea for the exhibition began with a desire to create spaces where Black women artists could feel seen and celebrated.

“There’s an underrepresentation of Black women artists and Black artists in general in gallery spaces and museum spaces,” Love said. “I recognized a gap and a void and a hunger really in the community for spaces like this, for artists and also individuals who want to support and buy Black art.”

From the first show at a small gallery in Atlanta, Georgia, featuring about 20 artists, Love said the Black Girl Art Show has grown to highlight more than 5,000 artists across the country.

Love and his team periodically conduct polls on social media to determine which cities the show should travel to next, and Cleveland made its way to the top of the list. Sunday’s Cleveland show will feature many local artists.

Shaker Heights native and artist Tai Gomez-Curtain attended a prior show in Chicago in 2021, and she will be exhibiting again in Cleveland.

Tai Gomez-Curtain works in digital art, mixed media and drawing.
Tai Gomez-Curtain
Tai Gomez-Curtain grew up in Shaker Heights and is a 2016 graduate of Kent State University. She considers herself a self-taught artist and minored in fine arts while in college to hone her skills. "That made a difference and paved the way for me after college to be more open to solo shows and exhibitions and festivals," she said, "so I can adapt and grow."

She said attending the show in another state was a great way to open her art to a different demographic and expand her network.

"I immediately noticed a difference, especially with people taking my business card and knowing what my Instagram is," Gomez-Curtain said. "It's definitely opened up a new range of people."

She said she didn't expect the Black Girl Art Show to come to Cleveland and is glad it is here this weekend.

"People don't realize there's a lot of hidden gems in this city," she said. "It's really nice having another opportunity for artists in Cleveland to sell their art because we don't have a ton here."

Inclusivity is at the heart of every event, giving artists an opportunity to showcase their work regardless of their background or experience level. Love noted that in a lot of different art spaces, artists typically have to know somebody or have an established name to be accepted into a gallery space.

“One of the special things about this show is that it invites and includes artists who have been doing their thing for 20-plus years and artists who have been doing art for two years,” he said. “We give that opportunity to everyone, because it creates a very special conversation centered around support and community among artists.”

Love is also the founder of A Marvelous Black Boy Art Show that provides a platform for Black men in the arts. Collectively, he said both exhibitions have generated more than $5 million in sales for participating artists.

Jean-Marie Papoi is a digital producer for the arts & culture team at Ideastream Public Media.