David Colbert, Jr. is the executive director of SOLA’s unique Black-owned contemporary art gallery, Gallery 90220. It’s a multicultural hotspot that is consistently breaking boundaries when it comes to uplifting and showcasing emerging Black and Brown artists.
“There aren’t many Black-owned art galleries or art businesses,” Colbert shares. “We’re excited to be changing things on the Black and Brown art scene.”
Located in the Beehive, a series of former warehouses in the historic Goodyear Tire district of South Los Angeles, Gallery 90220 was founded on the same concepts as Colbert’s Compton Art Walk: “We want to establish a historic platform through authentic experiences that provides former, present, and future residents the opportunity to support and show pride for their city’s rich heritage of musical and artistic talent.”
The Compton Art Walk To Return Soon
These are the goals that inspired Colbert to create Compton’s first Art Walk in 2018. The monthly festival unites local artists and businesses to collaborate, network and showcase their talents and hard work while driving economic support to Compton. While it has been on hiatus for the past year, Colbert plans to reinstate it shortly.
Colbert was inspired by the Los Angeles art walk and wanted to give the concept a particularly Compton flair. “This is a chance for participants of our programs to volunteer, participate and assist in every aspect of the festival,” says Colbert. “They help with planning, marketing, all the way to execution.”
Art Supplies & Online Presence for the Black Artist
Colbert is always looking for the next big thing in the art scene. Right now he has two passion projects, one of which is an interactive artistic website designed for artists of color to build a community, sell their art, and share ideas.
Colbert shares, “Digital art allows endless possibilities for artists to be seen and heard. Even now these moments set the tone for the future. Online platforms will allow patrons, sponsors, and fans to buy art, and will allow artists to sell and promote their work.”
He is also designing a new line of art supplies that will cater specifically to artists of color. “We’re underrepresented in the world of art supplies,” Colbert reveals. “I’m designing a line of supplies that meet our needs.”
There are currently only a tiny handful of Black entrepreneurs pursuing the design and production of art supplies designed for the artist of color. Colbert envisions paints, colored pencils, and markets in various shades that match the variety of skin colors seen worldwide. “We need more diversity,” he says. “Specifically I want to promote products that are specifically created by Black and Brown artists and artisans.”
The Red Dot MRKT Driving Black-Owned Business
As a Black business owner, Colbert is helping to shape not only the art scene, but also the local economy. He created the Red Dot MRKT, a community outdoor flea market located in South Central LA. The market features art (of course), food trucks and other vendors, and live music.
“This is another opportunity for artists to showcase their talents,” Colbert says. “We’re getting more notable artists at Gallery 90220, along with celebrity visitors, and that’s all very exciting. But I want to create a platform for new artists so they can rise to greatness.”
Local artists and small business owners can purchase booths starting at $75 (for art, jewelry, clothing, etc.) to $150 (for food trucks). It’s held at SOLA Beehive which is a convenient 10 minutes from downtown.
Gallery 90220’s Owner & Founder, David Colbert
One of the key things to know about David Colbert Jr. is his pride in his hometown of Compton. “I’m a third-generation Compton native,” he says. He is the Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit organization Compton Art Walk Inc., established in 2018.
Colbert studied sociology at California State University. As one of the top emerging curators in L.A., he is a devoted advocate for the arts, keen on fostering culture in his community. He has been recognized as a leading creative mind in Compton, and his proudest moment was founding and opening Gallery 90220. The contemporary art gallery, designed by the prestigious Gensler architecture firm, opened its doors in 2021, featuring pieces from internationally acclaimed artist Gianni Lee and an exclusive photography exhibition from the Oscar award-winning film Two Distant Strangers (both events curated by Colbert).
Colbert has been interviewed by Harvard University to document his impact on the art scene in Compton, and his gallery was featured in the Los Angeles Times for providing a unique for reviving art culture and history in Compton and is recognized as a Black-owned business as part of Forbes Green Book Guide.
Colbert is also the Executive Producer of the Red Dot Series podcast, which features top young creatives from around the country. The podcast has enjoyed many notable guests, including Grammy award-winning artist Jairus Mozee. The series has also been featured on Vh1’s hit television series Black Ink.
Creating Mentorships and Lasting Connections
One of the drives behind founding Gallery 90220 is to allow artists to support themselves with their art and create their own businesses. “We need to see more Black-owned businesses and companies,” Colbert says. “Our goal here with all our events and projects is connecting artists to brands and sponsors that will help establish their careers.”
He shares that networking is everything. Sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know. Gallery 90220 allows artists to showcase their talents and meet the people who will change their lives. “We want our artists to find mentors,” says Colbert. “That will help young artists organize their vision. They need to trust themselves and a wise counselor can help keep them in their lane.”
Gallery 90220 is a contemporary art gallery dedicated to promoting emerging artists of color. It is associated with the Compton Art Walk, the Red Dots Series Podcast, and the Red Dot MRKT. David Colbert Jr. is the Executive Director of the Art Walk, owner of the gallery, producer of the podcast, and founder of the MRKT.