“I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit,” said Erykah Badu, the queen of neo-soul, during a live performance of the popular song “Tyrone.”
Some artists, if not every artist, can relate to looking for a space not to be judged, criticized or mocked, but to be accepted as creative geniuses. In a big city, a place like this seems more like a fairy tale than a reality.
Phillip Simpson, owner of The Baltimore Gallery, said he prides himself on creating an environment for artists to succeed and practice their craft, even if that means “failing” sometimes. Simpson has owned this community art space, which was formerly known as The Untitled Bottega, for 10 months.
“The reason I am here is because not only am I an artist, but I support other artists in the city,” Simpson said. “I feel like we need a place to create, we need a place to show our work, show our MC, hip-hop and breakdancing skills. This is the place for it.”
Sound Off Sundays, an open mic event for poets, singers, rappers, comedians and musicians to bestow their gifts amongst an anticipating crowd, is hosted every second Sunday of the month at The Baltimore Gallery. As people pile in to the back of the gallery, sipping their favorite libations, Sound Off Sundays creator Ken Brass begins the night requiring each person to stand and greet someone they don’t know in the room.
Brass said, “I make everyone feel welcome because like I say everyone here is your family. If you come here, you’re family, we’re cousins now.”
Simpson not only offers a space for musicians to hone in on their craft, but also physical art. During the day, the gallery is occupied with paintings created from the raw talent of local up and coming and established painters on varying canvas sizes. The idea is to build a gallery and a brand that feels like home in the heart of downtown Detroit. The space is for all creative individuals who are looking to let loose and be themselves. It’s a funky one of a kind welcoming environment that offers growth.
For more information, call 313-768-6017 or visit The Baltimore Gallery at 314 E. Baltimore Ave. in Detroit.
Contact Writer Jasmine Espy: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @JasmineEspy.