How do you curate this collection? How do you build it?
When I first began I had no real system for how I was collecting and that’s pretty much still the case. I spent a lot of time online researching which publications I needed and finding ones I didn’t even know existed. Within the first 6 months I had about 250 books and since then my collecting has slowed. I also receive a lot of book donations that help to keep the library growing!
Where did you earn your degrees?
In 2017 I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Michigan State University and the following year I earned a Master of Arts in Art Politics from New York University.
Favorite item that you've handled as part of the collection?
My favorite item is the first item I purchased for the collection. It is a copy of Beauford Delaney’s 1970 retrospective catalogue from the Studio Museum in Harlem. I was so excited when I found it and it was in amazing condition. I believe I found it on Abebooks and that really just ignited a spark in me to see what other great books I could find.
What do you personally collect?
A lot of items in my personal collection are actually similar items to what’s in Black Art Library’s collection. My collection is much much smaller and I actually didn’t really start building it until after started the library.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Outside of work my favorite thing to do is relax, honestly. But I also love cooking. Once upon a time I was in culinary school because I thought I wanted to be a chef.
Any unusual or particularly interesting items you'd like to draw our attention to that are part of the Black Art Library collection?
My most interesting items are actually the things I add to the collection outside of books. I’ve been able to collect over a hundred 35mm slides that show works by Black artist. A lot of them are from universities or libraries. I grabbed them from one of my favorite places to shop for cool items…..eBay!
What's next for you and the Black Art Library?
I actually have something super exciting I’ve been working on that will be coming in 2023!
My least favorite part about the work I do is having to tell people that the books in the Black Art Library’s collection are not for sale. I want to be able to help people add amazing things to their collections which lead me to want to sell items as well.
Next year I will be launching an online shop I've named Used & Rare. I’ll be selling preloved books and ephemera specializing in items highlighting Black Art. I will also be offering a few different book services for individuals and institutions.